Is this the end of the Trasylol story?

A new study could be the last nail in Trasylol's coffin. In a head-to-head comparison of Trasylol (aprotinin) and two other anti-bleeding meds, patients getting Trasylol during heart surgery were much more likely to die than patients on the other meds. "In all likelihood, this is the end of the aprotinin story," two researchers wrote in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial accompanying the study's publication.

Bayer, you'll recall, temporarily suspended Trasylol sales last fall when this government-funded Canadian study was stopped early because of the death rates among patients using that drug. An analysis of the data showed Trasylol boosted the chance of death by 54 percent, with 6 percent of patients using that drug dying within 30 days of surgery, compared with 4 percent on the other two drugs.

Bayer faces some 80 lawsuits over the drug, claiming that Trasylol caused unnecessary deaths and that the company hid evidence of its potential risks. Responding to the NEJM article, the company said it is still deciding what to do about the med.

- see the Los Angeles Times article
- check out the Toronto Star's piece