Standard drug treatment after a heart attack may actually be hastening the patient's death, a new study has discovered.
Heart patients are routinely given a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drug with Plavix (clopidogrel), an antiplatelet drug, but the combination could be increasing the risk of death by nearly 30 per cent if it's prescribed after a heart attack, say researchers from the Denver VA Medical Center.
PPIs are given to reduce acid production and for stomach problems and, on their own, are not known to cause death.
But the reaction with clopidogrel appears to be lethal, and the researchers suggest that they should be given only to those patients with a history of stomach bleeding.
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009; 301: 937-944).