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How Long to Take 2 Anti-Clotting Drugs?

People who take anti-clotting drugs longer after a heart procedure may reduce their risk of heart attack, a new study finds. The study included nearly 10,000 people who received balloon angioplasty and a small metal tube called a stent to help keep the artery open. The stent released a drug that helped prevent scar tissue from clogging the artery. But this leaves the stent more likely to cause clots. In the study, everyone took aspirin plus clopidogrel (Plavix) or prasugrel (Effient) for 12 months to prevent clots. Then they took either 2 drugs or aspirin only for the next 18 months. The study lasted 5 years. In that time, 2.1% of those who took both drugs for 30 months had heart attacks. The rate was 4.1% for those who took only aspirin after 12 months. But rates of major bleeding were higher in the 2-drug group. There was no difference in fatal bleeding rates.

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