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Plavix Study Disappoints

Filed February 6th, 2012 Julie

According to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2012, adding the blood thinning drug Plavix to aspirin treatment is unlikely to prevent recurrent strokes and may actually increase the risk of bleeding and death in patients with subcortical stroke.

The anti-clotting part of the Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes Trial (SPS3) was ended in August 2011 because of the preliminary results. Researchers will continue to study the effect of high blood pressure treatments.

The SPS3 trial is the first large-scale study of patients with subcortical strokes, which occur when small blood vessels deep in the middle of the brain are blocked, damaging small areas of brain tissue. Small subcortical strokes affect 150,000 Americans each year and Oscar Benavente, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor of neurology at Canada’s University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, says they are the most common cause of vascular dementia.

According to preliminary findings, the risk of bleeding almost doubled among patients taking the Plavix/aspirin combination, compared to patients taking aspirin and placebo. The annual risk of death was also higher with the combined therapy. Aspirin plus placebo had a 1.4 percent risk of death and aspirin plus Plavix had a 2.1 percent risk of death.

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommend anti-clotting medications like aspirin or other clot preventives like Plavix for preventing strokes, but they do not recommend combining aspiring and Plavix.

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