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New Blood Thinner May Help Prevent Leg Clots, Study Finds
Date:12/10/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The new anti-clotting drug apixaban (Eliquis) appears to help prevent potentially fatal blood clots in patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a new Italian study finds.

People who suffer from venous thromboembolism are prone to develop blood clots in the veins in their legs (DVT). If a clot breaks loose, it can travel to the heart and cause a heart attack, or the brain and cause a stroke, or to the lungs and cause severe breathing difficulties, and even death.

"This finding is great," said Dr. Maja Zaric, an interventional cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Currently, patients with recurrent venous thromboembolism take a drug called warfarin, which is effective but needs careful monitoring and is associated with a risk of major, and sometimes fatal, bleeding.

This drug and others will likely replace warfarin over the next few years, Zaric said. These drugs do not require weekly or monthly blood tests, which is a major problem for many patients, she explained.

"One drawback of apixaban is having to take two doses a day," Zaric said. "This can make patient compliance less effective. The drug that will be the one most used is the cheapest one that only has to be taken once a day."

Although apixaban and other drugs in its class cost more initially, not having to make frequent doctor visits to check medication levels along with not having as many severe bleeding episodes as with warfarin will save more in the long run, Zaric pointed out.

"It's cheaper to spend a little more on a drug than a lot on doctor's visits and hospitalizations," Zaric said.

A month's treatment with warfarin costs about $35 in Canada, where apixaban is available with a monthly price tag of $290, according to the Canadian drug index of Rx List.

The findings were published online Dec. 8 in the New England Journa
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