Stop The Bleed: Blood Thinner Antidote


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Millions of people in the U.S. are taking blood thinners to prevent a clot and possible stroke. But some patients wind up in the hospital due to a dangerous side effect.

Mark Bresin had lots of adventures working as a mechanical engineer in China for ten years.

Bresin shared, “Hong Kong and Shanghai.”

But he didn’t need the excitement of being rushed to the emergency room when he was back home.

“I had an episode with pretty significant bleeding, GI bleeding,” Bresin told Ivanhoe.

“Mark came to the emergency room feeling extremely weak, very lightheaded, he looked extremely pale,” said Rishi Anand, MD, Medical Director for the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Holy Cross Hospital. (Read Full Interview)

Bresin was taking blood thinners for an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. Doctors say he’s not alone. About three million people in the U.S. are on what are known as Ten-A inhibitors. And while these drugs are needed to help prevent stroke in patients, blood thinners do pose a risk.

“On a yearly basis of those three million about 110,000 are having some sort of admission to a hospital for a bleeding event. There’s a chance of death within 30 days with these acute medical illnesses,” explained Dr. Anand.

Now doctors at Holy Cross Hospital are testing a medication that reverses the effects of the new class of blood thinners.

“The name of the drug is Andexanet Alfa. We would administer the medication through an IV infusion,” Dr. Anand told Ivanhoe.

The antidote stops the bleeding within two to five minutes. Bresin became part of the clinical trial the day he ended up in the ER. He’s thankful the drug was there for him.

“It truly was a blessing that it was available,” Bresin shared.

With the hope of saving even more lives in the future.

Doctors say they have reversed the conditions of more than 200 patients nationwide. The antidote, Andexxa, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday, May 4th, 2018.  For more information on the clinical trial or study sites throughout the U.S., Please visit

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Blood thinners are medicines that prevent blood clots from forming. They also keep existing blood clots from getting larger. Clots in your arteries, veins, and heart can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blockages. There are two main types of blood thinners. Anticoagulants such as heparin or warfarin (also called Coumadin) slow down your body’s process of making clots. Antiplatelet drugs, like aspirin, prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together to form a clot. Reasons you may need to take blood thinners are certain heart or blood vessel diseases, an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, a heart valve replacement, a risk of blood clots after surgery or congenital heart defects.



DRUG BACKGROUND: Rishi Anand, MD, Medical Director for the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Holy Cross Hospital explained the difference between old and new blood thinners, and why a new antidote is necessary: “Coumadin is a generic blood thinner that has been on the market for many years and in the last decade there have been new comers to the market which we call novel oral anticoagulants. Some examples are Xarelto, Eliquis or Pradaxa. Now medication specifically Xarelto and Eliquis do not have an antidote available to them as of yet. Contrast that to Coumadin: if you come in with a bleeding event we can give you Vitamin K which is a typical antidote that’s used to try to reverse Coumadin immediately. And Pradaxa which is a novel oral anticoagulant but works through a different mechanism than Xarelto or Eliquis, it also has an antidote that just got released to the market about a year ago. The two medications that I’m specifically talking about, Xarelto and Eliquis, to date have no antidote. Xarelto and Eliquis are the top two prescribed anticoagulants in the United States. There is clearly a very strong need to develop an antidote for these two particular medications and any other medications that act through a similar mechanism.”

(Source: Rishi Anand, MD)


NEW ANTIDOTE: Andexanet alfa is an antidote or reversal agent for people who are taking Factor Ten A, inhibitors which are types of blood thinners. Dr. Anand said, “Andexanet alfa has been designated as a breakthrough therapy by the FDA, which in essence means that the FDA is reviewing that process very quickly and trying to get this drug to market.” This antidote could save many more than the 200 people it has helped already.

(Source: Rishi Anand, MD)



Christine C. Walker, Media Relations


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Doctor Q and A

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