Canadian Researchers Improve Safety, Decrease Risks of New Blood Thinners

Researchers tested an antidote that reverses the effects of two new blood thinners, apixaban and rivaroxaba.


EMBARGOED by the New England Journal of Medicine until 10:45 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015

Hamilton researchers improve safety, decrease risks of new blood thinners

Newswise — Hamilton, Ont. (Nov. 11, 2015) -- Researchers at McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton have successfully tested an antidote that reverses the effects of two new blood thinners named apixaban and rivaroxaban. By reversing the effects of blood thinners within minutes, this new antidote may help to save the lives of patients taking blood thinners that experience major bleeding complications. The study, published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine, is led by Dr. Deborah Siegal and Dr. Mark Crowther, both of McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“Bleeding complications present the most common risk for patients taking blood thinners. Without an antidote, there is no way to quickly reverse the effects of a blood thinner in emergency situations,” said Siegal. She is a hematologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a clinical scholar at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “The findings of this study are an advance towards resolving major bleeding complications effectively within minutes.”

Blood thinners are used to prevent and treat blood clots in a number of conditions including atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and affects an estimated 350,000 Canadians. As many as three to seven per cent of patients taking blood thinners will experience major bleeding complications in their lifetimes, some of which can be fatal. “The availability of an antidote may reassure patients who need to take these blood thinners regularly that these drugs can be stopped safely in emergency situations,” said Siegal.

The study was funded by Portola Pharmaceuticals.

Further research by Siegal and Crowther hopes to test this antidote in different situations and population groups.

Media Contact:Veronica McGuireMedia Relations Co-ordinator | Faculty of Health Sciences | McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West-HSC-2E48 |Hamilton, ON | T: 905-525-9140 ext. 22169 | E: vmcguir@mcmaster.ca | www.fhs.mcmaster.ca

Maria HayesCommunications Specialist | Public Affairs Department | St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton | 225 James Street South |Hamilton, ON | T: 905-522-1155 ext. 33506 | E: mhayes@stjoes.ca | Twitter: @STJOESHAMILTON | www.stjoes.ca

More InformationAbout McMaster UniversityMcMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 150,000 alumni in 128 countries. About St. Joseph’s Healthcare HamiltonSt. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a regional leader in patient-centred care providing acute care, research, teaching, community and international outreach programs throughout our network. Since being founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1890, our hospitals span three specialized campuses in the Greater Hamilton Area (Charlton Campus, West 5th Campus and King Street Campus), with St. Joseph’s Villa Dundas providing long-term care and St. Joseph’s Home Care providing personalized home care traversing the reach of our region. For more information about St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, please visit www.stjoes.ca.

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