The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), UK, has approved a new drug which one study has suggested could reduce the risk of death from a second heart attack by 20 per cent. The drug is manufactured by AstraZeneca as Brilique. It works by maintaining cardiac blood flow and stopping new blood clots from forming.
The drug – Ticagrelor received a nod from authorities on June 29th. According to a study published in 2009, the medication reduces the chance of suffering a second cardiac arrest within a year by 16 per cent. Nice health technology evaluation centre director Dr Carole Longson said, “Ticagrelor is the latest in an ever increasing number of important new drugs and interventional techniques that have been shown to reduce deaths in patients with [acute coronary syndromes].” NICE said that the drug was better than Plavix and added that it reduced the number of fatal heart attacks by 21 percent.
However, a recent trial conducted for North American patients had found that Brilique fared worse than Plavix and its approval by the FDA, which the agency will decide on July 20, is not yet certain.
The Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence found the drug, taken with aspirin, is suitable for people who have unstable angina or suffered a heart attack. It also lowers the risk of another heart attack within a year by 16%, compared with commonly used clopidogrel or plavix.
Professor Kausik Ray of St George’s centre in London said, “The provisional recommendations by Nice mean we’re closer to this life-saving medicine being available.”
Patients tend to take the drug for a period of up to one year. More than 180,000 a year may benefit from the drug, made by AstraZeneca, which costs £54.60 for 56 tablets.