WASHINGTON (AP) — The bleeding side effects of an Eli Lilly & Co. blood thinner will be at the center of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, where government advisers will discuss the medication’s benefits and risks. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the highly anticipated drug, called prasugrel, as a therapy for patients with acute heart problems caused by the builup of plaque in the arteries. Lilly developed the drug with Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo. In documents posted online Friday, internal FDA reviewers recommended approval for the drug, saying its effectiveness “seems beyond question.” However, the agency also voiced concerns about higher rates of internal bleeding when compared with Plavix, the leading blood thinner currently on the market. Both drugs prevent blood platelets from sticking together and causing deadly blood clots. On Tuesday, FDA will ask a panel of outside cardiology experts whether prasugrel should be restricted to certain types of patients due to its side effects. The agency is not required to follow the group’s advice, though it usually does. Panelists could suggest that the drug not be prescribed to patients who are older than 75, weigh less than 132 pounds or have a history of stroke. Patients in those groups were more likely to have dangerous bleeding side effects than others. But when all patients were considered together, FDA concluded that prasugrel prevented 24 heart-related problems for every 10 bleeding events it caused. For every 1,000 patients treated with prasugrel instead of Plavix, FDA said there were three fewer heart-related deaths. FDA’s panel will recommend what the drug’s labeling should say about the bleeding side effects. The panel will also discuss higher rates of cancer seen among patients taking prasugrel. While there is no direct link between the drug and cancer, some FDA reviewers have said the issue should be flagged for physicians in a “black box” warning, the most serious the agency issues. Such warnings would hurt the drug’s ability to compete with Plavix, which was the world’s second best-selling drug in 2007 at $7.3 billion. The drug is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis. For now, most analysts believe prasugrel, which would be marketed under the brand-name Effient, would have a much smaller pool of users than Plavix. Cowen and Co. analyst Steve Scala expects prasugrel sales to peak at $1.5 billion in 2015. Approval of prasugrel is considered crucial for Lilly because the patent on its best-selling drug, the anti-psychotic Zyprexa, is due to expire in two years. Even at peak earnings, prasugrel would have trouble replacing the nearly $4.7 billion garnered by Zyprexa last year.