Stop the Bleed: Blood Thinner Antidote
Millions of people in the U.S. are taking blood thinners to prevent a clot and possible stroke, but some patients wind up in the hospital due to a dangerous side effect.
Mark Bresin had lots of adventures working as a mechanical engineer in China for ten years.
Bresin shared, “Hong Kong and Shanghai.”
But he didn’t need the excitement of being rushed to the emergency room when he was back home.
“I had an episode with pretty significant bleeding, GI bleeding,” Bresin told Ivanhoe.
“Mark came to the emergency room feeling extremely weak, very lightheaded, he looked extremely pale,” said Rishi Anand, MD, Medical Director for the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Holy Cross Hospital.
Bresin was taking blood thinners for an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. Doctors say he’s not alone. About three million people in the U.S. are on what are known as Ten-A inhibitors. And while these drugs are needed to help prevent stroke in patients, blood thinners do pose a risk.
“On a yearly basis of those three million about 110,000 are having some sort of admission to a hospital for a bleeding event. There’s a chance of death within 30 days with these acute medical illnesses,” explained Dr. Anand.
Now doctors at Holy Cross Hospital are testing a medication that reverses the effects of the new class of blood thinners.
“The name of the drug is Andexanet Alfa. We would administer the medication through an IV infusion,” Dr. Anand told Ivanhoe.
The antidote stops the bleeding within two to five minutes. Bresin became part of the clinical trial the day he ended up in the ER. He’s thankful the drug was there for him.
“It truly was a blessing that it was available,” Bresin shared.
With the hope of saving even more lives in the future.
Doctors say they have reversed the conditions of more than 200 patients nationwide. The antidote is part of the Annexa-4 trial and is on the fast track for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information on the clinical trial or study sites throughout the U.S., Please visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02329327
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.