Ticagrelor scores Canadian nod

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Health Canada has approved ticagrelor (Brilinta, AstraZeneca), an oral antiplatelet treatment that seeks to prevent atherothrombotic events (e.g., cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke) in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

The PLATO (PLATelet inhibition and patient Outcomes) study was an international head-to-head comparison of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel (Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis) in ACS patients taking aspirin. The study found that patients had a 16 percent reduction in cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, MI, stroke) compared with patients on clopidogrel, and a 21 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular death.

More than 400 Canadian ACS patients at 30 sites across the country participated in the one-year PLATO study, which involved 18,624 patients in 43 countries worldwide. Canada's participation in the international PLATO trial also involved analysis of electrocardiogram data of more than half (10,000) of all participating patients, conducted through the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, according to the London-based AstraZeneca.

The most common adverse events reported by patients on ticagrelor include feeling short of breath, nosebleeds, headaches and an increase in non-surgical bleeds.

The drug is not currently approved in the U.S., as the FDA has postponed its review date until July.