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Brilinta Has Advantages Over Plavix for Heart

Study Shows Blood Thinner Brilinta May Be Effective in Patients With a Genetic Variant

Brilinta Linked to Slight Increase in Bleeding continued...

There was a "slight" increase in major bleeding among patients on Brilinta, but the benefits far outweigh the risks, Wallentin says.

A genetic test can tell whether a person is a poor metabolizer of Plavix. But there are real advantages to be able to skip the test, he says.

For starters, it costs about $500. Then there's the time to get the results -- it may be a few hours or days, or weeks, Wallentin says.

The study was sponsored by AztraZeneca, which makes Brilinta. No price has been set, according to a company spokesperson.

American Heart Association spokesman Ray Gibbons, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says the data "show a clear advantage for Brilinta over Plavix.

"But you can't be absolutely certain based on a single study," he tells WebMD.

If the findings do pan out, "they will relieve clinicians of the uncertainty of whether they need to be testing for certain genetic variants," Gibbons says.

Gene Variants and Plavix

Other research presented at the meeting seems to contradict previous findings, suggesting that the presence of these variants does not influence outcomes among patients on Plavix after all.

To assess the influence genetics might have on patients prescribed Plavix, Guillaume Paré, MD, and colleagues from McMaster University looked at 6,000 participants from two major clinical trials that showed Plavix significantly reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and dying.

"We found the previously reported genetic variants had no effect at all on patient outcomes," Paré says.

These findings were simultaneously published online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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