Plavix, known under the generic name of Clopidogrel, is used to stop the platelets in blood from coagulating and forming clots.
Researchers combined it with Aspirin, in clinical trials known as ACTIVE-A of 7,554 patients, to show that it could help patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) that are unable to take other blood thinning medications such as warfarin.
Oral anticoagulants such as Warfarin and Aspirin have been the only therapies proved effective so far in treating patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, in which the heart’s two upper chambers, the atria, quiver instead of beating effectively.
This increases the risk of the blood clotting or pooling in the chambers, which in turn could trigger a heart attack or stroke.
According to the American Heart Association, some 2.2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation and often need to be fitted with a pacemaker.
But many of them cannot be treated with Warfarin to stop blood clots forming because it increases the risk of an internal hemorrhage by up to 70 percent.
The study found that a combination of Clopidogrel and Aspirin reduced major vascular events by 11 percent, including a 28 percent reduction in stroke and a 23 percent reduction in myocardial infarction. Afp