"There really is a turnaround in the texture and the direction of the data,â€ Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., tells the Times. Topol, by the way, was among those on FDA panel on stent safety last December, which concluded that the clotting hazard was real. As the paper notes, the worrisome data were first reported at a March 2006 cardiology meeting, but wider attention was paid only after two more studies with similar conclusions were reported earlier this year at another meeting in Europe. Then, Scientific reported its own data confirmed the clotting problem.
A report presented last week at the American Heart Association meeting concluded that stents often are of little use for patients whose only symptoms are occasional chest pains, the paper writes. That group includes at least 30 percent of people who typically get stents and maybe many more, according to the lead author, William Weintraub, chief of cardiology at the Christiana Health Systemâ€™s Center for Outcomes Research in Newark, Del.
And so even device makers don't expect a quick turnaround. Worldwide stent sales have fallen by about $1 billion since last year, to $5 billion. In the US, stenting procedures, whether using drug-coated stents or older bare-metal versions, declined by about 10 percent in the last year. And the use of drug-coated stents shrunk even more, to about 64 percent in recent months, down from about 88 percent in the spring of 2006. â€œIt takes a lot longer to regrow a forest than to cut it down,â€ Donald Baim, the chief medical officer for Boston Scientific, tells the Times.
Source: The New York Times