Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Plavix Saves Lives From Severe Heart Attacks

Study: Adding Blood Thinner to Heart Attack Treatment Cuts Deaths by a Third
WebMD Health News

March 9, 2005 (Orlando, Fla.) - Adding the blood thinner Plavix to standard heart attack treatments could cut deaths from severe heart attacks by more than a third.

"There will be about a million heart attacks in the U.S. this year and about a third of them will be this type of severe heart attack; that's about more than 300,000 heart attacks," says researcher Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School.

Doctors refer to these severe heart attacks with the term "ST-elevation" due to specific changes that are seen on a heart monitor. These heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced.

Severe heart attack treatment usually includes clot busting drugs and aspirin. But Harvard researchers say adding Plavix, a potent blood thinner, cuts deaths and second heart attacks by 36% compared with standard heart attack treatment.

In the study, patients who took Plavix as part of their heart attack treatment were also 20% less likely to need heart bypass surgery. The study was funded by Plavix makers Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Sabatine says Plavix, which is already standard treatment for people who have blocked arteries opened by steel mesh tubes called stentsarteries opened by steel mesh tubes called stents, works with aspirin to keep blood clots from forming in blood vessels. "It keeps the vessels open," he says.

'Good Treatment for Heart Attack'

"This is a major finding," Robert Bonow, MD, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, tells WebMD. "This is likely to have a major impact."

Christopher P. Cannon, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-researcher of the study, tells WebMD that "we are 99.99% sure that this is a good treatment for heart attack."

Sidney Smith, MD, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, tells WebMD that the findings are "the missing link."

"We knew that Plavix worked in mild heart attacks, but we were waiting to see if it would work the same in [more severe heart attacks] -- and it does," he says.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure