New heart drug reduces risk of recurrent heart attack

SINGAPORE - A new heart drug that is being touted as being better than the current gold standard in terms of saving lives and reducing cost has been launched in Singapore.

The drug, Brilinta (ticagrelor), is the first antiplatelet medication shown to significantly reduce the number of cardiovascular deaths over the current standard of care, clopidogrel, said its developer AstraZeneca, a global research-based biopharmaceutical company.

The new medication, indicated for the prevention of atherothrombotic events in adult patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), is more effective than clopidogrel when taken with low-dose aspirin (less than 150mg).

ACS affects an estimated 17.3 million people globally, and cardiovascular death accounts for more than 5,000 deaths annually in Singapore, said Dr. Jayanti Visvanathan, Medical Director, AstraZeneca Singapore/Malaysia.

The approval and launch of Brilinta (ticagrelor) means that physicians now have access to a new treatment option for patients, he said.

Brilinta, co-administered with aspirin, is specifically indicated for the prevention of thrombotic events such as cardiovascular (CV) death, myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke in patients with ACS including unstable angina, non-ST elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) of ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), as well as patient managed medically and those who are managed with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Ticagrelol also does not have the resistance problem seen in patients on clopidogrel, is more potent and faster in onset when compared to clopidogrel, said Associate Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director of the National University Heart Centre.