Features June 2008 Issue

Which Drug-Eluting Stents Are Most Effective?

Research shows two types of drugs are equally capable, but other variables, including newer drugs, also factor into stent selection.

A comparison of two medications available on drug-eluting stents (DES) showed that both worked equally well in preventing future cardiac events, such as a heart attack, according to research published in the Jan. 30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). How do these drugs differ in function? And if they work equally well, how does your doctor choose one over the other? "There are two types of drugs used on drug-eluting stents: those in the limus group, such as sirolimus and zotarolimus, and paclitaxel. The drugs work on different parts of the cell cycle during the process of cell division to prevent restenosis [re-narrowing] in coronary arteries," says Samir Kapadia, MD, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic. Essentially, both drugs inhibit cell growth, thus stopping or slowing new tissue formation in the arteries.

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