Common anti-allergy medicines could prove to be an effective treatment for potentially fatal blood clots in the legs, a study has claimed.
The research by the University of Birmingham in the UK could lead to new treatments that prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the leg, and causes swelling, aching and difficulty walking.
It can be caused by prolonged periods of immobility, such as after surgery or during a long flight.
If the clot becomes dislodged it can travel to the lungs and block a blood vessel. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). An estimated 30 per cent of PEs cause sudden death.
The team discovered that mice genetically depleted of mast cells, a type of immune cells, are protected from developing DVT.
The current treatments for DVT include anti-clotting drugs such as heparin and warfarin. These drugs are relatively effective but put patients at increased risk of bleeding.