‘Robust evidence’ Covid blood-thinning drug does more harm than good, concludes new study
One of those is the blood-thinning drug Apixaban. Until recently, the drug was given to patients to stop them from dying, but new research suggests the drug can cause dangerous bleeding.
This was the conclusion of a trial funded by the UK Government into the effectiveness of the drug known as the Heal-Covid trial.
It found that the widely used drug was ineffective at reducing the fatality rate and had severe side effects for patients.
Chief investigator on the trial Professor Charlotte Summers said: “These first findings from Heal-Covid show us that a blood-thinning drug, commonly thought to be a useful intervention in the post-hospital phase, is actually ineffective at stopping people dying.”
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Professor Summers, an intensive care doctor, added: “This finding is important because it will prevent unnecessary harm occurring to people for no benefit.”
Co-chief investigator on the study, Doctor Mark Toshner, added: “This trial is the first robust evidence that longer anticoagulation after acute Covid-19 puts patients at risk for no clear benefit.
“Our hope is that these results will stop this drug being needlessly prescribed to patients with Covid-19 and we can change medical practice.”
Guidelines created by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) say patients hospitalised with COVID-19 should be given blood-thinning therapy for no more than two weeks, even if they are discharged during that period.
The reason why patients have been given blood thinning medications such as Apixaban is because doctors hoped they would reduce the risk of blood clots – a condition Covid has been found to increase the risk of.
However, during this trial, several of the 402 participants began to experience serious bleeding as a result, forcing them to stop taking Apixaban.
Furthermore, the team also found that 30.8 percent of Covid patients who received standard care were back in hospital less than a year later. This compares to 29.1 percent of patients on Apixaban.
Due to the small difference, the positives of Apixaban are limited, adding to the body of evidence against its usage.
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What are the main treatments for Covid?
Treatments for COVID-19 depend on the severity of it. Most people who get Covid recover within a matter of days or weeks.
However, some require hospitalisation and the administration of special drugs such as antivirals to improve their symptoms.
The NHS writes: “Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines. Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb).
“These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.”
As to which treatment someone will get, the NHS says they will advise which treatment is suitable for each patient.
It continues: “Some treatments come as capsules or tablets that you swallow and they can be taken at home. The NHS will usually arrange for the medicine to be delivered to you or it can be collected by someone else such as a friend, relative or NHS Volunteer Responder.
“Other treatments are given to you through a drip in your arm (infusion). You’ll usually get them at your local hospital or in a local health centre.
“You’ll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.”
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