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FDA Panel Backs New Blood Thinner

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A new blood thinner called prasugrel marks a significant advance over older treatments, an advisory panel of U.S. cardiologists said Tuesday.

The nine members on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's panel unanimously voted in favor of approval for Eli Lilly's anticlotting drug, which, if OK'd by the FDA itself, would be marketed under the brand name Effient, according to the Associated Press.

The approval followed an FDA review, released last week, that found prasugrel appeared more effective than the current leading blood thinner Plavix.

Since prasugrel, which was developed by Lilly and Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo, was submitted for approval last January, the FDA has twice put off making a decision because of concerns about its safety. While the drug reduces life-threatening heart problems, it increases the risk of internal bleeding.

But the new FDA review, and the advisory panel's endorsement, indicate the drug's lifesaving benefits clearly outweigh its risks, the AP reported.

The agency is not required to follow the recommendations of its expert panels, but it usually does.

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