A fifth of deaths in the year following a heart attack could be avoided if new drug ticagrelor was used instead of the standard treatment, a study suggests.
Robert Storey, professor of cardiology at the University of Sheffield’s department of cardiovascular science, said the use of ticagrelor instead of clopidogrel could prevent one in five deaths in the 12 months after a heart attack.
The findings were presented at the British Cardiovascular Society annual scientific conference in Manchester.
Professor Storey has been at the forefront of UK investigations into ticagrelor and was also on an international committee which conducted a trial of more than 18,000 patients in more than 40 countries, known as the PLATO study.
The results of the PLATO study were first presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in 2009, showing that ticagrelor was more effective for heart attack patients than clopidogrel in reducing death and recurrent heart attack.
A new analysis of the PLATO study presented this year at the American College of Cardiology showed that ticagrelor is just as effective at reducing deaths in patients over the age of 75 as in younger patients.
Professor Storey said: “Our new findings really highlight the universal applicability of the treatment.”
Clopidogrel has a very low cost as it is available in generic forms, whereas ticagrelor is more expensive at around £55 per month. However, the excess drug cost of ticagrelor is offset to some extent by its greater effectiveness which reduces the need for heart operations.
Professor Storey added: “Many people are dying avoidably in the year after having a heart attack due to delays introducing this new treatment. These new findings provide yet further evidence in support of making the drug available to patients in the UK.”