UNC physicians seeking patients for blood clot, medication studies

CHAPEL HILL - Doctors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are seeking adults with acute pulmonary embolism or deep-vein thrombosis to participate in studies aimed at improving treatments for blood clots.

Dr. Stephan Moll, director of the thrombophilia program at the UNC School of Medicine's Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, said the studies will help determine the best way to prevent blood clot recurrence.

Coumadin, known generically as warfarin, is the standard blood-thinning medication doctors use to treat patients during the first six months after a blood clot is diagnosed, Moll said. However, the drug presents risks, and it topped UNC's recent list of medications with the most reported side effects.

"We don't like to give Coumadin long-term," he said. "It carries the risk of bleeding and can have side effects that range from mild bruising to death through bleeding in the head. On the other hand, we know that 25 percent of blood clot patients develop a second clot, and we want to avoid that. We're forced to weigh this risk against the risk of serious side effects from Coumadin, and that's not an optimal answer."

The first study, called PREVENT, is a randomized, double-blind trial that involves two groups of patients, Moll said. One group will receive no more Coumadin after the first six months but instead an inactive compound. A second group will follow the six months' regular treatment with a smaller maintenance dose of the drug. Both groups will be monitored for four years.

"We want to know if the lower dose, which we think decreases the risk of bleeding, actually prevents the recurrence of clots," Moll said. "If so, that dose should be the standard of care for patients with a first blood clot."

Moll is following 10 patients in the PREVENT study and would like to enroll as many as 50 more. Those eligible are age 30 and older who have had a blood clot -- not from surgery or trauma -- and

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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