Experimental Drug Outperforms Plavix in Clinical Trials of PCI Patients


Experimental Drug Outperforms Plavix in Clinical Trials of PCI PatientsOverview: Recent clinical trials show that the experimental blood thinner cangrelor outperformed Plavix among patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The primary endpoint of the trial was the composite of death, myocardial infarction (heart attack), revascularization and stent thrombosis at 48 hours. With decreasing sales following the loss of its patent and mounting lawsuits over its alleged side effects, the use of Plavix may be proving to be a less suitable option for patients at risk for coronary artery disease.

  • Cangrelor outperforms Plavix in the phase 3 CHAMPION PHOENIX trial conducted by the Medicines Company
  • Plavix is a commonly used blood thinner used to prevent blood clot, stroke and heart attack in high-risk patients; it is associated with an increased risk of bleeding
  • Research has also shown that Aspirin is just as effective as Plavix in some patients

Product: Plavix® (clopidogrel)  

Manufacturer: Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Side Effects & Complications 

  •       Cerebral hemorrhage
  •       Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)
  •       Gastrointestinal bleeding
  •       Ulcers
  •       Internal bleeding
  •       Bone marrow damage
  •       Heart attack
  •       Stroke
  •       Death

Plavix Performs Worse than Cangrelor

According to Forbes, the phase 3 CHAPION PHOENIX  trial analyzed the rate of ischemic events between patients taking the oral blood thinner Plavix versus the intravenous drug cangrelor at 48 hours. The trial enrolled 10,900 patients for PCI due to either stable angina or acute coronary syndrome. The primary endpoint was the composite of death, heart attack, revascularization and stent thrombosis. Based on these criteria, Plavix was shown to be inferior to cangrelor. The trial was conducted by the Medicines Company, who is developing the new antiplatelet drug.

Plavix versus Aspirin, Safety Issues  

Plavix is used as a blood thinner used to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic events such as blood clots, stroke and heart attack in patients with a history of these conditions or at high risk for them. When first introduced to the US market in 1999, it was touted as superior to Aspirin, which is also used for this purpose. Research shows, however, that Aspirin alone may be just as effective as Plavix at preventing strokes. Studies have also called into question the previous notion that Plavix was easier on the stomach. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that Plavix patients had a higher rate of ulcer bleeding.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb alleging that Plavix caused injuries, such as internal bleeding, hemorrhaging and even death, in users. The lawsuits further allege that Plavix makers deceived the public and put patients at risk by claiming that it is superior to Aspirin while understating its risks.