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AstraZeneca’s Brilinta reduces stroke and death risk in head and neck artery atherosclerosis patients

Published on 17/11/20 at 12:52pm
Photo by D Wells

AstraZeneca’s Brilinta (ticagrelor) reduced the composite of stroke and death in patients with head and neck artery atherosclerosis who had an acute ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack, according to new clinical trial data. 

The THALES Phase 3 trial showed Brilinta 90mg used twice daily, and taken with daily aspirin for 30 days, reduced the rate of the composite stroke and death by 27%, compared to aspirin alone in patients who had ipsilateral atherosclerotic stenosis in the head and neck (cervicocranial) arteries. 

This means that the number needed to treat (NNT) was 34 in this sub-group of patients compared to an NNT of 92 in the overall THALES population. This represents a consistent reduction in an easily identifiable patient population.

Dr Pierre Amarenco, International Coordinating Investigator and Vice-Chair of the THALES Executive Committee and Professor of Neurology at Paris University, said: “A body of scientific evidence, including our own analysis, shows that patients with ipsilateral atherosclerotic disease experience a much higher risk of ischaemic stroke than patients with other subtypes. This new data from the THALES trial indicates that ticagrelor offers protection in this patient population, which is easily identified in clinical practice.”

Results from the subgroup analysis of the THALES trial were presented on 16 November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020 and simultaneously published in Stroke.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, also commented: “Patients who had an acute ischaemic stroke or a transient ischaemic attack are at high risk for recurrent, potentially disabling or fatal events. Given this and the established heritage of ticagrelor in the prevention of atherothrombotic events, we are pleased to see that aspirin plus ticagrelor has the potential to be an effective preventive treatment for subsequent stroke in patients with cervicocranial atherosclerosis.”

Conor Kavanagh

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