Aprotinin, a drug used to limit bleeding, was temporarily suspended from marketing in the U.S. in November 2007 after a small Canadian study was stopped because similar findings were discovered. The drug, Trasylol, is manufactured by Baylor AG.
"We're not surprised by the results,” says Dr. Andrew Shaw, an associate professor in Duke Medicine’s department of anesthesiology and the lead author of the paper which appears in the February 21 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. “It's what we expected to find.”
The Duke study is significant because “it is more than twice the size of the next largest study of aprotinin,” says Shaw. The prospective data was collected between 1996 and 2005. “Unlike the highly selected nature of randomized trial populations, our data represent the every day cardiac bypass surgery patient population. The data were collected at a time when aprotinin was thought to be safe.”
The Duke team started analyzing its database of patients after a 2006 NEJM study reported aprotinin use may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and serious kidney injury.
“We were looking for an association between exposure to the drug and subsequent adverse outcomes,” Shaw says. “We found an increased incidence of death in patients who received aprotinin. That higher death rate seemed to persist even when we were able to control for the differences seen between the patient groups.”
Shaw and his Duke colleagues also linked aprotinin to impaired kidney function. “Kidney function is measured by serum creatinine levels which indicate how well the blood is filtering waste products,” he says. The study found aprotinin use increased serum creatinine levels, but they did not report an increase in patients needing dialysis. Shaw believes “that’s because we probably didn’t have enough patients who needed dialysis in our study to detect a significant statistical difference, although the incidence was numerically higher.”
Of the 10,275 patients studied, 1343 patients (13.2%) received aprotinin, 6776 patients (66.8%) received aminocaproic acid (another drug used to limit bleeding) and 2029 patients (20.0%) received no therapy. All patients underwent coronary-artery bypass surgery (CABG), and 1181 of them also underwent valve surgery. Patients who received either aminocaproic acid or no therapy did not have high rates of death or poor kidney function seen in the aprotinin group.
After gaining FDA approval in 1993, aprotinin was used routinely during cardiac surgery, particularly on high-risk patients, to reduce bleeding and the need for blood transfusion. According to previously published research, patients undergoing cardiac surgery receive approximately one fifth of all the red cell transfusions in the U.S., and each unit transfused is known to increase the risk of infection.
Shaw says this study does not rule out the possibility that the increased death rate was due to high-risk, sicker patients receiving the drug. “You would expect sicker patients would be more likely to die,” he said.
“The unanswered question is, ‘are there differences between the patient groups that we were unable to detect that led to the increased death rate, or is the death rate due to exposure to the drug?’
“Our study doesn’t answer that question nor was it designed to,” he says. “But it does further raise the question of the safety of aprotinin. And, on a broader scale, it highlights the importance of post-marketing observational studies of drugs that are widely used.”
Lauren Shaftel Williams | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Life Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences