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American Stroke Association Late-Breaking Science Report: New Drug as Effective as Warfarin in Preventing Strokes in Atrial Fibrillation Patients With Prior Stroke or TIA
Date:2/26/2010

Warfarin has long been the recommended drug for preventing strokes in people with atrial fibrillation.  However, warfarin increases the risk of brain and gastrointestinal bleeding, and the drug is difficult to manage, Diener said.  It adversely interacts with some foods and drugs, and its therapeutic range is narrow.  Too much warfarin can cause bleeding, including in the brain, and too little can result in an ischemic stroke – caused by blood clots dislocated from the heart.  Thus, physicians must monitor patients closely.

"Dabigatran's efficacy is independent of body weight and age, there are no food interactions, and you don't have to see a physician regularly to monitor the coagulation system," he said.

The risk of stroke is increased in atrial fibrillation patients, and especially in those who have already suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Co-authors are Stuart Connolly, M. D.; Michael D. Ezekowitz, M.B., Ch.B, D.Phil.; Salim Yusuf, F.R.C.P.C., D.Phil.; Lars Wallentin, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeanne Varrone, M.D.; Susan Wang, Ph.D.;  and Paul A.
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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