Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb have launched a new 300mg tablet of their antiplatelet “super-aspirin” Plavix (clopidogrel) for the treatment of certain patients with acute coronary syndrome in the UK, following approval by the European Medicines Agency.

This new loading dose tablet will help ensure early treatment of appropriate ACS patients - those with unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and STEMI patients aged _ 75 years who are eligible for thrombolytic therapy - and in accordance to guidance standards, say the firms.

In guidance issued in July 2004, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended Plavix 300mg as an initial loading dose in the treatment of non-STEMI ACS, followed by continued treatment at a dose of 75mg daily in combination with aspirin for 12 months.

“Effective antiplatelet management is a priority in the immediate care of ACS patients by reducing the risk of further events such as STEMI and reinfarction,” said Emergency Nurse Consultant Nick Castle. “In an emergency, simple is best, and the availability of the 300mg tablet will be far more convenient to administer [than four 75mg tablets], particularly in the ambulance setting,” he added.

"This 300mg tablet will facilitate best practice and NICE guidance adherence by offering the recommended clopidogrel loading dose in one tablet. In emergency cardiac situations this will simplify the administration of the rapid loading dose to help ensure patients receive evidence-based treatment as quickly as possible,” concluded Mr Castle.

The drug will also remain available as a 75mg tablet, and both formulations will be parity priced on a milligram-equivalent basis.

The 300mg tablets will be available to all hospital pharmacies, sold in packs of 30 each containing three blister strips of 10 tablets.