American Heart Association: Rivaroxaban lowers risks in patients with acute coronary syndrome

January 1, 2012

The oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban lowered the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando, Fla., in mid-November.

The oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban lowered the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando, Fla., in mid-November.

The study was simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

As part of the Harvard Medical School TIMI Study Group and the ATLAS ACDS studies, researchers analyzed more than 15,000 people hospitalized with a recent heart attack or unstable angina. The study participants were randomly assigned to receive either standard care along with rivaroxaban or standard care with placebo and were followed for more than 1 year.

"Our findings are important, because blocking the production of thrombin is an important new way to improve acute coronary syndrome patients' long-term risk of death, stroke, and heart attack after being hospitalized with an acute coronary syndrome," said C. Michael Gibson, MD, senior investigator of the TIMI Study Group, Harvard Medical School, and the principal investigator in the ATLAS ACS studies of rivaroxaban for this indication.

Rivaroxaban and other new oral anticoagulants have demonstrated the ability to reduce strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, but their use in patients with ACS has had mixed results.

"Despite our best efforts at treatment following a recent heart attack or unstable angina, patients still face a 10% or higher risk of a repeat heart attack, stroke, or death 1 year later," Dr Gibson said.