Two experimental pills could become alternatives to a class of drugs that's used widely to protect surgical patients against potentially fatal blood clots. Currently, many patients need repeated postoperative injections of anticoagulants such as heparin or related drugs.
The pills might also replace another anticoagulant, warfarin, which many people now take orally for months or years to counter clotting risks associated with cancer, certain heart conditions, or a history of blood clots, says Giancarlo Agnelli of the University of Perugia in Italy.
The new compounds inhibit a clot-promoting blood molecule called factor Xa. Most existing drugs have that effect and several others. Neither new compound has a permanent name yet. Bayer HealthCare of Leverkusen, Germany, calls the one it developed BAY 59-7939, and developer Eli Lilly and Co. of Indianapolis calls the other LY517717.