Thursday, November 21, 2013

Developing new class of blood thinners continue

For a few years, I took warfarin (also known as Coumadin) daily. I had to be careful in diet, in the timing of the medication and getting blood tests monthly to make sure my blood was not too thick, not too thin, but rather, to paraphrase Goldilocks, "just right."

The drug, also famously used as rat poison, has been in use to prevent clot-type strokes for decades. You might have seen the TV commercials lately for new drugs coming on the market to replace warfarin. Now, new blood thinner edoxaban was found safer, as effective as warfarin:
"Personally, I think it will be used. We know this drug is safer than warfarin," said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Robert Giugliano, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
But it will enter a market that already has three other new medicines vying to displace cheap, decades-old warfarin. 
It aims to compete with Xarelto, sold by Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson, and Eliquis sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc., which belong to the same class of drugs as edoxaban, as well as a similar medicine from Boehringer Ingelheim called Pradaxa. ...
"If you look at the four new drugs, they're more similar than different," said Dr. Mark Link, a professor at Tufts University Medical Center in Boston, who was not involved in the trial. "All these drugs are safer than warfarin."
Warfarin, of course, can cause bleeding, bruising and other medical problems. On the downside of the new drugs, costs will be far greater than the cheap generic warfarin. Still, worth discussing with your doctor.

(Photo from the National Library of Medicine)

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