Deadly Drug Combination

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People taking the blood thinner Plavix on top of aspirin to try to prevent heart attacks now have good reason to stop -- a new study says it could do more harm than good.

Adding Plavix to aspirin for people being treated for a heart attack cuts their risk of a second one or death. For that reason, doctors thought the drug combination might prevent "heart attacks waiting to happen."

But the study found that the combination not only didn't help most people, it almost doubled the risk of death, heart attack or stroke for those with no clogged arteries but with worrisome conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The only people even modestly helped by adding Plavix were those with established heart disease. Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says for prevention of heart attacks, "aspirin alone is sufficient."

Results were reported today at an American College of Cardiology conference in Atlanta.