Two new drugs can slash stroke risk

January 11th, 2011 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 11 (IANS) Two new drugs could slash stroke risk and blood clots for those with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm problem, a study suggests. Blood-thinning drugs rivaroxaban and dabigatran have proved more effective in combating the condition than the conventional treatment warfarin.

Atrial fibrillation - a fast, erratic heartbeat - affects 800,000 people in the UK. Symptoms include breathlessness and palpitations and more serious blood clots.

A trial at Edinburgh University involving 14,000 patients has found that rivaroxaban can cut blood clot risk by an extra 20 percent compared with warfarin, the Daily Mail reports.

“Our study shows that patients taking rivaroxaban have fewer strokes and blood clots,” lead researcher Prof. Keith Fox of Edinburgh said.

“Approximately half of people who would benefit from warfarin cannot take it because the risks for them outweigh the benefits. But we now have an effective alternative.

“Better still, it is one that reduces complications and is easier to administer. This is an exciting development.”

Meanwhile, studies in the US and Germany have found that dabigatran too is an effective alternative to warfarin.

Like all medications, the drugs carry the risk of potential side-effects - these are the same as for warfarin and most commonly involve bruising or bleeding.

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