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New blood thinner shows promise

Eliquis, the blood thinner sold by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, is as good as the current standard of care in preventing blood clots and with fewer bleeding complications, according to a study.

In a trial of 5,400 people, the drug was found to be equivalent to the generic drug warfarin at preventing new clots and death in patients who had a venous thromboembolism, or VTE. In VTE, clots form in the body's large arteries, often in the legs or pelvis. The clots can then break off and travel into the lungs, causing a potentially deadly pulmonary embolism.

Eliquis is one of three in a new class of blood thinners that may replace warfarin, a half-century-old therapy that needs regular monitoring and requires patients to avoid certain foods.

Bristol-Myers and Pfizer, both based in New York, sponsored the trial.

-- Bloomberg News