Patients who take an oral anticlotting drug after a heart attack reduce their chances of suffering further complications, according to a study.
Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US found that administering rivaroxaban to patients who had suffered an acute coronary syndrome - such as heart attack or unstable angina - cut the incidence of stroke, further heart attack and even death.
The study, published in the Lancet, showed that rivaroxaban inhibits a molecule involved in the blood clotting mechanism, known as factor Xa.
Previous research showed it to be effective in the prevention of venous thromboembolism in patients who had undergone orthopaedic surgery.
The researchers found that 5mg of rivaroxaban increased the chance of clinically significant bleeding by 2.2 times compared with placebo. This rose to five times for the 20mg dose.
Author Dr Jessica Mega said: ‘The use of an oral factor Xa inhibitor in patients stabilised after an acute coronary syndrome increases bleeding in a dose-dependent manner and might reduce major ischaemic outcomes.’