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Published on 7 December 2009

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Safe warfarin substitute announced


Thousands of patients being treated for blood clots may no longer be dependent on the blood-thinner warfarin to guard against lung clots, heart attacks and strokes.

New trials show the drug dabigatran is equally effective against potentially deadly venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) that result from diseased arteries, injuries and surgery.

But unlike patients taking warfarin, those on dabigatran do not have to be constantly monitored to avoid overdosing.

Warfarin intake must constantly be monitored for excessive bleeding from wounds or ulcers, and it also reacts badly with other medicines and foods such as green vegetables.

Trial results have been announced at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Says Professor Sam Schulman, from Canada’s McMaster University: “This study found that dabigatran is a safe and effective anticoagulant that does not require the routine monitoring and dose adjustments that are necessary with warfarin.”

Boehringer Ingelheim hopes to launch dabigatran under the brand name Pradaxa as a general VTE treatment in the UK next summer.

Copyright Press Association 2009

New England Journal of Medicine

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