Study: New heart drug more effective at controlling blood clotsJuly 27, 1998
Web posted at: 10:20 p.m. EDT (0220 GMT)
DALLAS (CNN) -- A refined version of heparin, a drug used to prevent blood clots, appears to be effective in preventing complications from mild heart attacks or recurrent chest pain, the American Heart Association reported Monday in its journal Circulation.
A French study found the drug enoxaparin worked better than heparin in controlling the formation of a clot-enhancing protein that typically forms in the blood following a heart attack.
Only 9 of the 34 patients treated with enoxaparin suffered chest pains or another heart attack, compared with 17 of 34 patients who were taking heparin for the study.
Enoxaparin also was found to be easier to administer and required less patient monitoring.
At-home use a possibility
That has led some doctors to speculate that the drug may eventually be prescribed for use at home. Those at high risk of second heart attacks could inject the medication at the earliest signs of chest pain or other symptoms.
The treatment would be "sort of an insulin-like injection for coronary artery disease," said Elliot Antman of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
The drug works by controlling what doctors call the Von Willebrand factor, one of several "reactant" proteins that are released into the bloodstream when a person has chest pains or a heart attack. Von Willebrand factor directs platelets to the damaged areas of blood vessels, where they pile up and form blood clots.
Enoxaparin is made under the name Lovenox in Collegeville, Pennsylvania by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, a unit of French drug maker Rhone-Poulenc.
Enoxaparin is already approved to prevent clots in the legs following artificial hip and knee surgery. The company has now asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to use it in heart patients.
Correspondent Dan Rutz and Reuters contributed to this report.
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