Apixaban Fails to Reduce Blood Clots

Apixaban not as effective as current standard for blood clots

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) An experimental drug designed to aid severely ill patients after hospitalization is not more effective than standard treatments for reducing the risk of blood clots, a study has confirmed.

Apixaban (Eliquis), produced by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, simply doesn't provide an added benefit in halting blood clots in the lungs and legs of patients following hospitalization, Bloomberg Business Week reported.

"Follow your doctor's recommendation for preventing clots."

The current standard is Lovenox, which is injected. Xarelto (rivaroxaban), a competitor also in trials, also was found inferior to the current standard earlier this year.

Samuel Goldhaber, lead author, director of the venous thromboembolism research group at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, had set out to examine whether longer treatment with apixaban could reduce deaths and complications such as blood clots. As many as 600,000 in the U.S. suffer from related complications each year.

In trials, 2.7 percent of severely ill patients who received apixaban suffered fatal blood clots as compared to 3.1 percent with Lovenox. The results were considered statistically insignificant. The benefit of the drug increased with time, but major bleeding also increased during that period, which means it is possible a new trial could find the drug offers certain benefits.

Of the trial patients taking apixaban, 7.7 percent experienced bleeding as compared to 6.8 percent who received Lovenox. Patients who took apixaban also had more than twice the risk of major bleeding.

Apixaban also is in trials as a medication that prevents strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, a common type of heart arrhythmia. A recent study found that it was more effective at reducing deaths and bleeding than standard therapy warfarin, a treatment that requires significant monitoring and can be problematic when taken with certain foods or other drugs.

The study, which was recently presented at the American Heart Association's meeting in Orlando, Fla, also was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was funded by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers.

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Review Date: 
November 14, 2011
Last Updated:
November 14, 2011