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New drug cuts heart attack risk

Patients taking new drug ticagrelor together with aspirin are less likely to die after a heart attack.

Draft guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the drug, which prevents the formation of blood clots, in combination with aspirin as a treatment option in adults who have suffered a heart attack or an episode of unstable angina.

NICE found in its study that people who take the drug are at a 21% lower risk of dying, compared with those given clopidogrel, another commonly used treatment.

Ticagrelor was also found to be associated with a 16% reduced risk of another cardiovascular event such as a heart attack in the following 12 months.

The cost of the drug is £54.60 for a pack of 56 tablets.

Dr Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director, 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."

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