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New blood thinning drug reduces heart attack deaths

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A new blood thinning drug has been shown to reduce the number of deaths among heart attack and stroke patients by 16%.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced the results, saying that its drug Brilinta was better than Plavix, and did not increase the risk of bleeding, which is a common side-effect of medication that reduces heart attacks through preventing blood clots.

AstraZeneca plans to apply for approval for the new anti-clotting drug in the US and Europe towards the end of the year, and wants to make it available as early as the end of 2010.

The trial involved 18,624 patients, half of whom were given the new pill Brilinta after suffering a heart attack or stroke, while the other half were given Plavix.

The findings, which recorded 14 fewer deaths per 1,000 among patients who were given the new drug, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Anders Ekblom, AstraZeneca executive vice-president development, said: “The PLATO (trial) data suggest ticagrelor (Brilinta) could be a valuable new option for a broad range of acute coronary syndromes patients.

“We look forward to filing Brilinta with regulatory authorities in the fourth quarter.”

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