McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Research highlights new approaches to prevent blood clots

Published: December 8, 2008
Jeffrey Weitz Alexander Turpie
Dr. Jeffrey Weitz (top) and Dr. Alexander Turpie

Studies by two McMaster researchers, Drs. Jeffrey Weitz and Alexander Turpie, were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Francisco, CA this past weekend.

The studies examined the use of different investigational blood-thinning medications that belong to a new class of therapies called Factor Xa inhibitors. The studies evaluated the effectiveness of these medications in preventing blood clots, following major orthopedic surgery and in patients with atrial fibrillation.

The primary objective of Dr. Weitz’s study was to evaluate the safety of four different dosing regimens of DU-176b, an investigational oral Factor Xa inhibitor, in patients with atrial fibrillation compared with warfarin.

The study found that the two once-daily regimens of DU-176b (30 mg or 60 mg once-daily) are safe in patients with atrial fibrillation, making the drug a potential substitute for warfarin, the conventional blood-thinning agent used to prevent stroke in patients with this heart rhythm disorder. This study sets the stage for a large clinical trial that will compare these two doses of DU-176b with warfarin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients.

Dr. Turpie’s study concluded that rivaroxaban, another oral Factor Xa inhibitor, is more effective than a current standard of therapy, enoxaparin, for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after total knee replacement surgery without significantly increasing the risk of bleeding.

Coupled with previous research that demonstrated that post-operative rivaroxaban was more effective than pre-operative enoxaparin in preventing deep-vein clotting, along with an easier method of administration (oral versus subcutaneous injection), this study may change the way physicians prevent serious blood clots in patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery.

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