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New Anticlotting Drugs in the Works

Studies Show Apixaban and Xarelto Are Effective at Preventing Deadly Blood Clots

Apixaban Study continued...

The annual rate of major bleeding, including bleeds to the brain, was 1.2% for aspirin and 1.4% for apixaban, a difference so small it could have been due to chance.

The apixaban results were "truly impressive," Connolly says.

Apixaban is set to be reviewed by FDA advisers later this month.

Findings of another study, in which apixaban is being pitted against warfarin, are due out next year.

The study was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, from which Connolly received research grants and consulting fees.

Xarelto Prevents Deadly Leg Clots

The Xarelto study looked at preventing deadly blood clots in the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

The study was designed to show that it worked at least as well as standard treatment, and that goal was met.

The standard treatment of injecting Lovenox followed by warfarin pills is "quite effective, but cumbersome to use," says researcher Harry R. Buller, MD, of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.

In the late-stage phase III study, 2.1% of patients on Xarelto suffered recurrent clots, compared with 3% on standard treatment.

While the difference was so small it could have been due to chance, "Xarelto came close to demonstrating superiority," Buller tells WebMD.

The rate of major bleeds, the primary safety concern, was the same in both groups: 8.1%. And there was no evidence the new drug caused liver problems, which also had been a worry, Buller says.

"This simple single drug approach provides patients with an attractive alternative for the prevention and treatment of deep vein thrombosis," he says.

The Xarelto trial was funded by its maker, Bayer Schering Pharma.

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