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Published on 1 October 2008

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Drug watchdog backs VTE medicine

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A medicine that prevents deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms in patients recovering from knee and hip replacements has been recommended by the UK drugs watchdog.

Pradaxa, unlike other treatments for venous thromboembolism (VTE), can be taken orally without the need for monitoring and should reduce administration costs, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said.

Professor Ajay Kakkar, professor of surgical sciences at Barts and the London School of Medicine, said: “Venous thromboembolism remains an important clinical challenge. The recommendation by NICE for the novel orally active anticoagulant dabigatran provides an important extension to our armamentarium for preventing potentially fatal blood clots after total hip and knee replacement surgery, further facilitating best practice in terms of out of hospital prevention.”

It is estimated that 543,454 deaths in Europe per year are VTE-related, more than double the number from breast cancer, prostate cancer, HIV/AIDS and road traffic accidents combined.

In the UK alone, VTE is estimated to cost £640 million every year to manage, yet 60 to 80% of these costs could be saved through preventative measures including anticoagulation.

Eve Knight, CEO of the charity AntiCoagulation Europe, said: “We are delighted with the NICE announcement. It is appalling that patients are still developing and dying from VTE, which could very often be prevented by risk assessing every patient on admission to hospital and giving preventative treatment where needed.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

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