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Blood Thinner Blog Posts Worth Reading

What you’re looking at is an overview of the complex biochemical pathway behind blood clotting, and a smattering of the drugs researchers are developing to control clotting for preventing strokes and more.

Over at Terra Sigillata, David Kroll has two back-to-back posts about some of these drugs that are worth reading.

In the first post, Kroll discusses news out of the American Heart Association’s annual meeting: Rivaroxaban (Xarelto), a blood clot preventing drug from Bayer and J&J, has been shown to be about as efficacious as the established medication warfarin (coumadin) and better with regard to spontanous bleeding complications. He also dishes on some of the fascinating historical context behind the drugs.

In the second, he brings attention to Pfizer and BMS’s announcement that they are halting a trial of apixaban, their investigational blood clot preventing medication. Eight other apixaban trials are ongoing. We covered some apixaban news last June, when a different apixaban clinical trial was stopped early because an independent analysis concluded that the drug candidate was more effective than aspirin at reducing strokes and blood clots in patients with a common abnormal heart rhythm.

As we’ve written in C&EN, many factors will determine whether patients at risk of strokes or other dangerous blood clots will end up taking warfarin or will take one of the new drugs. Boehringer-Ingelheim’s Pradaxa (dabigatran), which acts at a different target from apixaban and rivaroxaban, is already approved by FDA. Rivaroxaban and Pradaxa are already approved in a number of other countries for short-term use. Each drug is slightly different, from how many times a day it must be taken, to how much of it is cleared via the kidneys (a potential issue for patients on dialysis or other kidney conditions), and much more. And of course, a big question is what the difference in cost is going to be- warfarin pills are cheap but the quality of life costs- incessant testing and diet monitoring- can be steep.

Image: C&EN

2 Comments

  • Nov 19th 201017:11
    by David Kroll

    Carmen, thanks a ton for the link love – the C&EN graphic is lovely and you added some very important information on dosing schedules and mechanisms of clearance. Did they teach you pharmacokinetics in that chemistry program you went to??? I didn’t know that you chemists even knew what a kidney looked like.

    Total serendipity to see the news on the apixaban trial last night so I figured that it was worth a short follow-up. It’s a fascinating field, especially since warfarin has been the gold standard for an amazing length of time.

  • Nov 19th 201018:11
    by Carmen Drahl

    Thanks David! Re pharmacokinetics: I heard a little about it in grad school at guest lectures, or on the rare occasion when I visited a company. But that’s the cool thing about this gig- as I get to chat with the folks who are developing these drugs and the physicians and academics who may use them in their practices or research, I’ll keep learning more…

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