Possible risk associated with heart attack medication

A new study has found a certain medication given to patients after suffering a heart attack may do more harm than good.

Senior citizens who experience a heart attack or unstable angina are usually treated with clopidogrel in addition to aspirin to reduce recurrent cardiovascular events following their hospitalization. Patients are also given a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal tract bleeding.

However, new findings suggest the PPI medications may reduce the benefits of clopidogrel.


Possible risk associated with heart attack medication P. Michael Ho of the Denver VA Medical Center and his colleagues examined the use of both medications among patients from 127 Veteran Affairs hospitals.

Of the 8.205 patients hospitalized for an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), 63.9 percent were prescribed PPI at discharge. A total of 29.8 percent of patients who were given PPI were re-hospitalized compared to the 20.8 who did not receive the medication.

Researchers concluded the combined use of clopidogrel and PPI at any point was associated with a 25 percent increase of being re-hospitalized or death.

"The results of this study may suggest that PPIs should be used for patients with a clear indication for the medication, such as history of gastrointestinal tract bleeding," said the researchers.

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