A worldwide research consortium that includes the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has proven that a new drug is more effective and easier to use than current medicines in the prevention of blood clots following hip replacement surgery.
The results reveal a better way to prevent the formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs - a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The blood clots become life-threatening pulmonary embolisms (PE) when they break free and travel to the lungs.
Gary Raskob, Ph.D., an internationally recognized DVT expert and dean of the OU College of Public Health, was co-author and a co-director of the study, which appears as the lead article in this week's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The study compared the drug Apixaban, given orally twice a day, to the current standard medicine, Enoxaparin, given twice daily by injection under the skin.
The randomized, double-blind trial involved more than 5,000 patients and showed Apixaban reduced the risk of blood clots, without increasing bleeding side effects.
"Each year, about 750,000 Americans undergo hip or knee replacement surgery and that number is growing rapidly. This is a major stride forward as we work toward better prevention of life-threatening blood clots in these patients," Raskob said.
He added that the development of new oral anticoagulant agents, like Apixaban, has raised hope of a standard of care for DVT prevention that is as effective as or more effective than current standard approaches as well as being equally safe and more convenient for patients.
Raskob also was a primary author in another study published in the same issue of The New England Journal of Medicine focusing on the treatment of patients with established deep vein thrombosis.
"Despite the best current prevention efforts, blood clots still occur. So, it is important to continue to work toward better treatments as well as better ways to prevent blood clots," he said.