AMSTERDAM, Sept 3 Use of AstraZeneca's
new heart drug Brilinta is frequently discontinued in a real
world setting, according to a small clinical study presented on
The finding may raise questions about the uptake of
Brilinta, a key new product for AstraZeneca as it seeks to
replace older drugs losing patent protection, although the
drugmaker played down the significance of the research.
The 367-patient study presented as a poster at the European
Society of Cardiology showed that around 14 percent of patients
prematurely stopped taking the blood-thinning drug or switched
to an alternative, most frequently due to experiencing
Brilinta is used to prevent recurrent heart attacks or
Dr. Thomas Bergmeijer of the St. Antonius Hospital
Nieuwegein in the Netherlands and colleagues, who carried out
the study between December 2011 and December 2012, said the
discontinuation rate due to dyspnea, or shortness of breath, was
higher than expected.
An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said that while the
discontinuation rate was higher than in the original
18,000-patient study, dubbed PLATO, that led to Brilinta's
approval, the rate was similar to that seen with Sanofi's
rival product Plavix in the real world.
Dyspnea was already observed in the PLATO trial and was
therefore not a new adverse event, she added. In the PLATO
study, overall about one in 100 patients taking Brilinta
discontinued therapy due to dyspnea.