Thousands of patients are set to benefit from AstraZeneca's clot buster Brilique after cost regulators endorsed its longer term use on the NHS to prevent cardiovascular events.

Brilique (ticagrelor) 90mg is already recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for 12 months after a heart attack to protect patients from further episodes.

In draft guidelines, the Institute is now also backing use of the lower 60mg dose for three years beyond this initial treatment period to help prevent another heart attack of stroke.

"Despite the availability of effective secondary prevention treatments as many as a quarter of people who have had a heart attack go on to have another heart attack or stroke - often with devastating consequences," noted Professor Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director.

"The evidence shows that ticagrelor, in combination with aspirin, is effective at reducing the risk of further heart attacks and strokes in people who have already had a heart attack."

In 2012/13 there were around 140,000 hospital admissions for heart attacks in England.