DALLAS, June 23 -- In a growing class of blood-thinning drugs to treat heart attack, researchers have found one that seems to have a greater long-term benefit rather than only an immediate effect, according to a study released in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The drug, lamifiban, is in a class of drugs called "platelet IIb/ IIIa receptor blockers," which prevent platelets from forming blood clots that obstruct blood vessels and cause heart attacks. Through a different mechanism, aspirin has a much weaker effect on platelets.
Lamifiban was used alone in varying doses and in combination with heparin, a blood-thinning agent.
The new drug combination may be used to treat patients who have severe chest pain or have had a non-Q-wave, or limited, heart attack. Standard in-hospital treatment for these individuals involves aspirin and heparin.
The study, co-authored by David J. Moliterno, M.D. is among several that are looking into ways to reduce heart attack survivors' high risk for death or a second heart attack in the first year following the attack, with the most critical period being in the first few weeks.
His study is unique in that it suggests a long-term benefit rather than an immediate effect alone. Even with standard treatment, "There is still room for improvement," says Moliterno, of the department of cardiology at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio. The number of deaths and second heart attacks is high even at six months after the initial attack, he says.
The Circulation report, however, indicates that if heart attack patients survive the first 30 days, the chances of surviving past six months or even a year are better if they receive lamifiban compared with standard treatment.
"We don't know specifically how long before each individual patient is
stabilized after a heart attack," says Moliterno. "Most deaths and second heart
attacks tend to oc
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association