Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Study sounds alarm on surgery drug

By Carla K. Johnson
Associated Press
CHICAGO – A drug widely used to prevent excessive bleeding during heart surgery appears to raise the risk of dying in the five years afterward by nearly 50 percent, an international study found.
The researchers said replacing the drug – aprotinin, sold by Bayer AG under the brand name Trasylol – with other, cheaper medications for a year would prevent 10,000 deaths worldwide over the next five years.
The findings were more bad news for Trasylol: The same scientists found the drug raised the risk of kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes in a study published last year. Most of the deaths in the new study were related to those problems.
Bayer said in a statement that the findings are unreliable because Trasylol tends to be used in more complex operations and the researchers’ statistical analysis did not fully account for the complexity of the surgery cases.
Nevertheless, the drug company said it will “work with regulatory agencies and external experts in the field to further evaluate the findings.”
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