Use of riskier blood thinner seen in Blacks with covid-19

An analysis of the use of blood thinners in hospitalized covid-19 patients highlights a striking racial disparity that may help further explain why Black patients are hit harder by the disease.

The anticoagulant enoxaparin — sold under the brand name Lovenox — which is associated with superior covid-19 outcomes, is more likely to be given to White patients.

Unfractionated heparin, an alternative drug associated with more complications, is more likely to be given to Black patients, according to data from over 25,000 hospitalized covid-19 patients in the international Discovery ­VIRUS registry. Treatment with unfractionated heparin was tied to more kidney injuries, heart injuries and anemia.

Black patients were 28 percent more likely than Whites to receive heparin, the analysis found. Mortality rates were 41 percent in patients who got unfractionated heparin and 15 percent in patients administered enoxaparin, researchers reported last week on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

Despite the availability of generic enoxaparin, it still remains more expensive than heparin, said co-writer Venky Soundararajan of Nference, a Massachusetts data analytics company.

As the study cannot prove causality, Soundararajan’s team calls for research to elucidate the socioeconomic, racial or other disparities that underlie their findings.

— Reuters

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