Plavix, Crestor make headlines at ESC

Hear ye, hear ye: The European Society of Cardiology meeting churned out beaucoups news over the past couple of days. And while some of the excitement centered on in-development meds (covered by our sister pub FierceBiotech), there's plenty of coverage to go around on the existing-drug side of the divide. Here's a sampling.

  • Plavix, the clot-buster from Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb, was bested in an outcomes trial by AstraZeneca's experimental med Brilinta. The drug cut cardiovascular troubles--heart attacks, strokes and death--by 16 percent compared with Plavix, and did so without causing serious bleeding complications. As the Wall Street Journal notes, this study sets the stage for a three-way smackdown among Plavix, Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo's recently approved Effient, and the yet-to-be approved Brilinta.
  • In more good news for AstraZeneca, the statin drug Crestor cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes, angioplasty and death in apparently healthy elderly folks as well as in the middle-aged. This new analysis of the Jupiter study showed that patients 70 years or older had a 39 percent risk reduction if they took Crestor rather than placebo. That's compared to a 44 percent cut in risk for all Crestor patients in the trial.
  • Doubling down on Plavix doesn't prevent more heart attacks, deaths and strokes, a 25,000-patient trial found, but it did increase the risk of bleeding. But a double dose did help a subset of those patients: those who underwent stent placement. In those patients, there was a small reduction in death, heart attack and stroke, and a reduction in stent thrombosis as well.

Meanwhile, Plavix hit the news outside the ESC as well. In a new study published in The Lancet tomorrow, heartburn drugs didn't interfere with the blood thinner's action. That's in contrast to previous research, which showed that Plavix patients who took heartburn meds like Nexium or Prilosec have a 50 percent higher risk of heart attack compared with those on Plavix alone.

- see the WSJ story
- get more from Reuters
- see the Dow Jones piece