Blood Thinner Ticagrelor (Brilinta) Safe to Use in Ambulance but No Extra Benefit

September 1, 2014

By Ben Hirschler

BARCELONA - AstraZeneca's blood-thinning drug Brilinta (ticagrelor) is safe to use in the ambulance when heart attack patients are being rushed to hospital but giving it early in this way does not provide any extra benefit.

That is the conclusion of a clinical study presented on Monday at the European Society of Cardiology congress, which suggests the drug is a flexible treatment option for doctors.

Some experts had hoped giving Brilinta plus aspirin before a patient arrives in hospital would further boost the chance of restoring healthy blood flow to the heart by minimising delays.

In the event, results proved comparable in the 1,862-patient ATLANTIC trial whether the drug was given before or after arrival. Encouragingly, early use was not associated with excess bleeding, a potential problem with blood thinners.

Gilles Montalescot of the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, who led the study, said there was also an indication that early Brilinta use could cut the risk of stent thrombosis.

The stent thrombosis result was statistically significant but it was a secondary finding in an overall neutral study and therefore "should not be interpreted as definitive", he added.

On the downside, there was a non-significant excess of deaths in the pre-hospital group, but the total mortality rate in the study was low and it was not clear if this finding meant anything.

Marc Ditmarsch, global development leader for Brilinta at AstraZeneca, said the study indicated it could be used flexibly, while the stent thrombosis findings were "encouraging and warrant further investigation".


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