Review of research shows that the anti-clotting drug Plavix may be less effective in women than men

November 16, 2009

PLAVIX is a blood thinner. It helps keep platelet cells in the blood from clumping together and forming clots that would decrease the flow of blood the direct cause of most heart attacks and strokes (platelets are tiny blood cells necessary for blood clotting). Plavix is the most commonly prescribed anti-platelet/blood thinning medicine and it is used to prevent strokes and heart attacks in at risk patients. Plavix is also sometimes used to prevent blood clots in people with mitral valve disease (a condition that affects the valve that separates the left upper and lower chambers of the heart) prosthetic or artificial heart valves, and people undergoing certain heart procedures such as coronary artery stent placement.

Researchers from various research institutions led by Jeffrey Berger, MD, of NYU Medical School analyzed data from five major studies that included 79,613 heart patients of whom 30% were women. In men Plavix cut the risk of having a heart attack by 17%, stroke by 17%, and of dying from a heart attack or stroke by 9%. In women it cut the risk of suffering with a heart attack by 19%, of stroke by 9%, but it didn't cut the risk of dying from them very well (just a 1% non-statistically significant drop). Plavix increased the risk of major bleeding in men by 22% and in women by 43%. The study is published in the current issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.