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Success stops drug trial
Date:8/31/2010

warfarin. These findings will reduce the burden of stroke in society."

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm disorder, in which the upper chamber of the heart beats improperly. Patients with atrial fibrillation are at increased risk of stroke due to the formation of blood clots in the upper chamber of the heart. The standard therapy for the prevention of stroke and other embolic events in atrial fibrillation is to use a type of anticoagulant known as a Vitamin K antagonist. The most common Vitamin K antagonist is warfarin, which is very effective for reducing stroke but is a difficult drug to use because of numerous interactions with food and other drugs and due to a need for long-term monitoring each patient's blood coagulation.

There are many patients who are unsuitable for warfarin and for them the only effective therapy for prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation is aspirin, which is not very effective. The purpose of the AVERROES study was to test whether the new Factor Xa inhibitor, apixaban, is superior to aspirin for the prevention of stroke in these patients, with an acceptable risk of bleeding.

Apixaban is a new type of anticoagulant known as a Factor Xa inhibitor, which is being jointly developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. This agent blocks the coagulation system and can be used without the need for monitoring necessary in traditional treatments. It has been studied and shown promising results in patients with deep vein thrombosis, in patients with recent orthopedic surgery and after acute coronary syndrome. It had not previously been studied in patients with atrial fibrillation.

AVERROES investigators have been informed of the decision to stop follow up of patients in AVERROES, and soon they will be informing their patients who are participating in the study. All patients in AVERROES who are still receiving study medication will be offered a long-term, open-label extension phase of the s
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Contact: Laura Thompson
lthomp@mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

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