More advantages found for new drug: study

Feb 10, 2011

New findings from a McMaster University-led study of a drug recently identified to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation have been published in the high-impact New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) today.

The investigators are now reporting that, in high risk patients who have already had a or warning stroke, apixaban reduces stroke or embolism from 8.3% per year on aspirin to 2.5% per year. This means that one stroke would be prevented, each year, for every 20 of these high risk patients treated with the new drug, apixaban.

The study has found the drug apixaban is superior to aspirin in reducing stroke or embolism in patients with who are unsuitable for the traditional therapy of warfarin. It reduces the risk of stroke by more than 50%. Compared to aspirin, apixaban did not significantly increase the risk of major bleeding. Apixaban is a new anticoagulant, still under regulatory review, that blocks the activity of Factor Xa.

"Patients with a stroke who have atrial fibrillation and who cannot take warfarin are at particularly high risk of ," said principal investigator Dr. Stuart Connolly, a professor of medicine at McMaster University and the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences. "It is great to know that we now have a drug that can reduce recurrent strokes substantially in these patients and which most patients will be able to take without the need for monitoring."

The full report published on the NEJM website follows preliminary results of the AVERROES study of apixaban presented last year. The report is also being presented today at the American Stroke Association's international conference in Los Angeles, CA.

Approximately one in four for people aged 40 or older will develop atrial fibrillation (AF), or , during their lifetime. The biggest threat from AF is a greatly increased risk of stroke, which is five times higher than for others. Blood thinners such as warfarin reduce this risk but are very hard to use successfully. About a third of AF patients are unsuitable for the treatment with warfarin, a vitamin K antagonist, which requires life-long blood monitoring.

The international study, which involved more than 5,500 patients in 522 centres in 36 countries, was funded by pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Inc.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.

Explore further: Ebola discoverer says would sit next to victim on train

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Success stops drug trial

Aug 31, 2010

The data monitoring committee of the AVERROES study, seeing overwhelming evidence of the success of apixaban in the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who are unsuitable for the conventional treatment ...

Blood-Thinning Drug Linked to Increased Bleeding in Brain

Sep 29, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Patients who take the commonly used blood-thinning drug warfarin face larger amounts of bleeding in the brain and increased risk of mortality if they suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, new research from the University ...

Blood thinner causes stroke in some dialysis patients

Aug 27, 2009

The blood thinner warfarin can prevent strokes in most individuals with abnormal heart rhythms, but the drug may have the opposite effect in kidney disease patients on dialysis, according to a study appearing in an upcoming ...

Study: Plavix plus aspirin helps prevent strokes

Mar 31, 2009

(AP) -- Taking the blood thinner Plavix along with aspirin helped prevent strokes and heart attacks in people with a common heartbeat abnormality that puts them at high risk of these problems, doctors reported Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Female baby boomers with asthma? You may need help

3 hours ago

Women over the age of 65 face numerous barriers to good health: an increased risk for obesity, greater struggles against poverty and higher rates of asthma with worse health outcomes. An article published in the August issue ...

New guidelines help keep asthma out of 'yellow zone'

3 hours ago

If you have asthma, you may have an asthma action plan with a "stoplight system" to help you recognize and respond to changes and understand when symptoms are getting worse and need more attention. If you're in the green ...

User comments : 0