Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New stroke prevention pill might be safer

More news on potentially better stroke prevention medication. Downside: Might be considerably more expensive. Given its safety vs. warfarin (also known as Coumadin), however, if you or someone you know is currently taking the major blood-thinner, it's a good idea to keep track of the progress on this medication. A recent one from USA Today:

New pill prevents strokes with less bleeding risk for atrial fib patients
The study of 14,000 patients found that a new one-a-day pill, rivaroxaban, prevents strokes as effectively as the current mainstay of treatment, Coumadin, without the need for routine testing to monitor patients' ability to make blood clots and avoid unwanted bleeding, says Robert Califf, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C.

Atrial fibrillation affects approximately 2.3 million people in the USA, and has been linked to a five-fold increase in the risk of lethal strokes. The reason: when a heart goes into atrial fibrillation, its upper chambers quiver rather than contract 60 to 90 times a minute as they're supposed to, moving blood through the heart and blood vessels.

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