Stent patients who take the blood thinner Plavix along with certain heartburn drugs may face a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and other dangerous events.
That's accordinng to a study of more than 14,000 patients in a database kept by pharmacy benefits manager Medco Health Solutions.
The numbers showed that stent patients who were taking Plavix with popular prescription heartburn drugs, including Nexium, were significantly more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack, stroke, chest pain or a coronary artery bypass operation than those who took Plavix alone.
Medco's chief medical officer said heartburn drugs could interfere with a liver enzyme needed to process Plavix, neutralizing its effects. But he stressed that patients should not stop taking Plavix or heartburn drugs, particularly if they have a history of stomach problems.
A spokesman for Bristol-Myers said the company is reviewing the data. But he questioned Medco's approach and urged patients to talk with their doctors before taking any action.