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OSU Medical Center Study To Test New Blood-Thinning Drug

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Researchers here are among scientists nationally evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a treatment created to reduce the incidence of stroke, a debilitating condition suffered by thousands of people each year and the third leading cause of death worldwide.

Neurologists at The Ohio State University Medical Center are participating in the testing of an experimental drug that prevents blood clots from forming in patients with irregular and rapid heartbeats while decreasing the risk of stroke.

“Preventing blood clot formation is one of the main goals when treating patients with arrhythmia, which can result in a stroke and damage to the brain,” says Dr. Yousef Mohammad, a neurologist at Ohio State’s Medical Center and principal investigator of the study at Ohio State.

Arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, often results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and chest pain. However, a more serious complication of arrhythmia is the increased risk of stroke which can occur when blood clots obstruct blood flow, damaging part of the brain.

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The randomized, double-blind, clinical trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of an investigational, blood-thinning medication, rivaroxaban, in comparison to one of the most frequently prescribed blood-thinners, warfarin, a generic form of Coumadin. As a crossover study, all participants enrolled in the study will receive the experimental medication at some point.

Blood-thinners, or anticoagulants, help reduce the risk of blood clots or prevent existing blood clots from becoming bigger. Patients treated with blood-thinning medications run the risk of excessive bleeding, especially after injury or surgery.

More than 14,000 study participants will receive the experimental therapy or warfarin. Routine blood tests will be performed to monitor blood clot formation.

“While warfarin is a very effective therapy for the prevention of blood clot formation, we are hopeful this clinical research will result in another treatment option for patients with atrial fibrillation,” says Mohammad.

Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia affecting more than 2.5 million patients in the country. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is currently the leading cause of serious long-term disability and 780,000 Americans are afflicted by a new or recurring stroke each year.