Long-term use of AstraZeneca’s Brilinta in patients with a history of heart attack reduces the risk of cardiovascular death by 29 percent, a new sub analysis of data from the Phase III PEGASUS-TIMI 54 trial has found.

Patients received Brilinta (ticagrelor) plus low-dose aspirin within two years of having a heart attack or within one year of stopping anti-platelet treatment with an adenosine diphosphate inhibitor.

AstraZeneca says results indicate that there might be a protective cardiovascular benefit associated with longer-term treatment with its drug versus the standard treatment period of 12 months post event.

The analysis also showed a risk reduction of 20 percent in all causes of death, and 20 percent in the composite of CV death, MI or stroke, while major bleeding rates were consistent with the known safety profile of the drug.

“The conclusion for both clinicians and patients at high-risk of CV death post-MI is clear: Treatment with Brilinta 60mg, either as continuation therapy after the initial 12 month post-event period, or with as limited interruption as possible, is associated with a clear and favourable benefit-risk ratio for this population of patients,” said Mikael Dellborg, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Gothenburg and member of the Steering Committee of the PEGASUS-TIMI 54 trial.

“This new insight is potentially practice-changing, as while more than seven million people worldwide suffer a heart attack each year, we know that fewer than half receive adequate long-term treatment to reduce their risk of further CV events.”

In the UK around 70 percent of people who have a heart attack survive the event. In the first year thereafter, around one out of five have another cardiovascular event, while of those who don't, about one out of five experiences another event in the subsequent years.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends use of Brilique 90mg for 12 months after a heart attack to protect patients from further episodes, and the 60mg dose for three years beyond this initial treatment period to help prevent another heart attack of stroke in high risk patients.