Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ticagrelor drug may reduce risk of dying following heart attack

In continuation of my update on ticagrelor 

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered ground breaking clues as to how the pioneering heart drug ticagrelor might reduce the risk of dying following a heart attack, in comparison to previous standard treatments.

The new findings, published in Platelets, show that ticagrelor (see left structure above) may reduce the risk of dying as a result of a lung infection after suffering a heart attack compared to patients treated with the drug clopidogrel (see right structure below).

The analysis, which was led by researchers from the University of Sheffield and Uppsala University Sweden, is the latest to come from the PLATO study which originally included over 18,000 patients worldwide. 

In the initial PLATO study, the annual mortality rate for patients treated with clopidogrel was 5.9 per cent and this rate was significantly reduced to 4.5 per cent for patients treated with ticagrelor.

The extent of this reduced risk was unexpected, as previous similar trials had not been so successful in reducing mortality risk - prompting speculation as to the possible mechanisms for this benefit.

Professor Robert Storey said: "We have now shown that there were fewer deaths due to overwhelming bacterial infection (sepsis) in patients treated with ticagrelor, with lung infection accounting for the source of this sepsis in many cases.

"This is a surprising finding but does seem to provide a potential lead in explaining why ticagrelor saved so many lives in comparison to clopidogrel treatment.

"Ticagrelor not only has greater anticlotting activity compared to clopidogrel, which easily explains its greater effectiveness in preventing further heart attacks, but also has another property not possessed by clopidogrel that allows it to prevent adenosine from being cleared from the blood stream.

"Adenosine has many different effects in the body including influencing the activity of white blood cells that are involved in tackling pneumonia and other infections."

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