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Drug Lowers Risk of Death After Heart Attack

Reviparin Helps Prevent Death When Given Soon After Heart Attack

WebMD Health News

Jan. 25, 2005 -- A new form of a traditional anticlotting drug may help reduce the risk of death following a heart attack, a new study suggests.

Researchers found giving heart attack patients the new drug, reviparin, within 12 hours after a heart attack reduced the risk of death, subsequent heart attack, and stroke by 13%.

However, they found the more time that elapses between the heart attack and when the drug is given, the less effective the drug becomes.

Researchers say the results suggest that treating people with reviparin soon after a heart attack may offer a new and relatively easy way to reduce the death toll from heart attacks.

Deaths due to heart attacks account for about half of the 15.5 million heart-related deaths worldwide each year.

Although early treatment with aspirin, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors has been shown to reduce the risk of death due to heart attack, researchers say this is the first study to show that reviparin also reduces these risks.

Anticlotting Drug Reduces Risk of Death

Reviparin is a new form of the drug heparin, which is used to treat and prevent blood clots.

In the study, which appears in the Jan. 26 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers evaluated the effects of reviparin in more than 15,000 people treated for heart attack in India and China from 2001 to 2004. All of the patients arrived at the hospital for treatment within 12 hours after symptoms of heart attack began.

Half of the patients were treated with reviparin injections twice a day for seven days, and the other half received a placebo injection.

The results showed that early treatment with reviparin reduced the risk of death, subsequent heart attack, and stroke by 13% for up to 30 days compared with the placebo.

But the study also showed that reviparin treatment was better when it was initiated very early after symptoms of a heart attack began. When the drug was given within two hours of the start of a heart attack, it reduced the risk of death, heart attacks, and strokes by 30%. But when it was given within four to eight hours, this reduction was only 15%.

In addition, the study showed that reviparin increased the risk of life-threatening bleeding within seven days after treatment, but the increase in risk was small.

Researchers say these results represent a moderate but globally important advance in the treatment of heart attack.

Although reviparin is not available in the U.S., similar anticlotting drugs are given to patients being treated for heart attacks.

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