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Excitement over blood thinning drug

A new blood thinning pill produced a 16% drop in heart attack and stroke deaths among patients when compared to the existing drug, Plavix, in a clinical trial.

Produced by drugs giant AstraZeneca, Brilinta worked better than the world's second biggest selling drug without increasing the risk of bleeding - a common side effect of medication that reduces heart attacks through preventing blood clots.

The trial, which involved 18,624 patients, recorded 14 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients among those who consumed Brilinta.

AstraZeneca said that it plans to file Brilinta with regulatory authorities for approval in Europe and the US during the fourth quarter of the year. The drug has been expected to available by the end of 2010.

Anders Ekblom, AstraZeneca executive vice-president development, said: "The PLATO (trial) data suggest ticagrelor (Brilinta) could be a valuable new option for a broad range of acute coronary syndromes patients."

The findings of the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

New England Journal of Medicine