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After six months, 18 percent of the gene-tested patients and 26 percent of the others had been hospitalized. That worked out to about a 30 percent lower risk for those given gene testing.
"This may help make this a safer drug to utilize," said Dr. James McClurken, chief of the cardiology conference and a heart surgeon at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Study leader Epstein said, "We've demonstrated that you can make warfarin work better with genetics."
Newer drugs seeking to compete with warfarin should include gene testing for dose-setting to make a fairer comparison, he said.
Medco paid for the gene tests and other study costs. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic donated their time. Results also are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Medco is doing another study to see whether gene testing can predict if a patient will do better on the anti-clotting drug Plavix or a competitor. On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added its strongest warning to the label for Plavix because some patients with a gene variation cannot metabolize the drug, putting them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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