A clinical trial asking how long people should take anti-platelet drugs for after a heart attack

Duration of dual anti-platelet therapy in acute coronary syndrome across Scotland. The DUAL-ACS2 trial

David Newby (lead researcher)

Edinburgh, University of

Start date: 01 August 2017 (Duration 5 years)

In the weeks and months after having a heart attack people are at high risk of having another heart attack. To combat this risk, doctors prescribe two anti-platelet medicines – commonly known as ‘blood-thinning’ drugs. However, these treatments have the side effect of increasing the risk of bleeding, which could have life-threatening consequences. As with all medicines, doctors want to strike the right balance of benefit versus risk for their patients. There is disagreement over the optimum length of time for which patients should take blood-thinning drugs after a heart attack. Current European guidelines recommend treatment for 12 months, but some experts believe this is too long. Now BHF Professor David Newby and his team at the University of Edinburgh will carry out a clinical trial of nearly 20,000 people in Scotland who have had a heart attack. Half of participants will be prescribed the blood-thinning medicines for 12 months, and half for just three months. Using electronic health records, the team will track how the participants are getting on over the course of 15 months. Their findings will indicate for how long people should be prescribed blood-thinning medicines after heart attack, for the optimum balance of benefit and risk. Their results could change clinical practice in the UK and further afield.

Project details

Grant amount £630,845
Grant type Special Project
Start Date 01 August 2017
Duration 5 years
Reference SP/17/12/32960
Status In progress

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