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New study shows many taking wrong dose of Plavix, other blood thinners

Filed November 20th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

Doctors in Utah believe that a simple blood test could help determine the proper dose of a drug like Plavix, that millions of Americans take every day to prevent a fatal heart attack or stroke.

According to, researchers at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, Salt Lake City, found just a quarter of all subjects in a recently completed study taking the correct dose of their blood thinner medication. Of the 520 patients observed, 75 percent of the patients taking Plavix (clopidogrel) or Effient (prasugrel) were prescribed the wrong dose. Most were not receiving enough of the drug and that’s putting them at risk of serious injuries, like the stroke or heart attack the drug’s designed to prevent.

Doctors at the Utah hospital used a simple test for determining the impact of Plavix. If blood drawn for the test is too thick, a patient is not receiving enough of the drug, putting them at risk of a dangerous clot. If blood is too thin, the drug may not be necessary and puts a person at risk of severe bleeding episodes.

Half the patients in the study were receiving too little of their blood-thinning drug. About one-quarter were getting too much and face a risk of severe bleeding.

The findings of this study will be presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions being held this week in Los Angeles.

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