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Clot-Busting Drugs: One Size Doesn't Fit All

Vital Information:

  • Researchers have found that clot-busting drugs used to treat heart attacks clearly help patients under age 75. But they do not help older patients, and may even cause harm.
  • In about 8,000 Medicare patients aged 65 to 86 who had a heart attack, those under 75 receiving clot busters had a 6.8% death rate 30 days after the heart attack. Nearly 10% of these patients died when they did not get the drugs. But in the older patient group, those getting clot busters were 40% more likely to die within 30 days of treatment.
  • An observer notes physicians should take the results seriously and consider options like angioplasty for patients who don't seem to benefit from clot-busting drugs.

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