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Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation Blog

FDA Medwatch Alert: Pradaxa (dabigatran): Drug Safety Communication - Lower Risk for Stroke and Death, but Higher Risk for GI Bleeding Compared to Warfarin

Posted 13 May 2014 by Drugs.com

ISSUE: The FDA recently completed a new study in Medicare patients comparing Pradaxa to warfarin, for risk of ischemic or clot-related stroke,  bleeding in the brain, major gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, myocardial infarction (MI), and death. The new study included information from more than 134,000 Medicare patients, 65 years or older, and found that among new users of blood-thinning drugs, Pradaxa was associated with a lower risk of clot-related strokes, bleeding in the brain, and death, than warfarin. The study also found an increased risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding with use of Pradaxa as compared to warfarin. The MI risk was similar for the two drugs. Importantly, the new study is based on a much larger and older patient population than those used in FDA’s earlier review of post-market data, and employed a more sophisticated analytical method to capture and analyze the ev ... Read more

Related support groups: Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Dabigatran

Doctors' Groups Issue New Guidelines on Treating Common Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 28 Mar 2014 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014 – Reduced use of aspirin and the addition of three new blood thinners as treatment options are among the recommendations in updated guidelines to manage a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, which is a major risk factor for stroke. According to the American Heart Association, atrial fibrillation involves rapid and disorganized electrical signals that cause the heart's two upper chambers – the atria – to contract rapidly and irregularly. Symptoms can include rapid and irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, fatigue or chest pain. Atrial fibrillation is not a fatal condition, but it can increase a person's risk of stroke five-fold. That's because atrial fibrillation allows blood to pool in the atria and form clots, the AHA said. One study published in November at the AHA's annual meeting found that ... Read more

Related support groups: Aspirin, Coumadin, Warfarin, Atrial Fibrillation, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Ecotrin, Eliquis, Rivaroxaban, Bayer Aspirin, Jantoven, Bufferin, Dabigatran, Apixaban, Low Dose ASA, Buffered Aspirin, Ascriptin Enteric, St Joseph Aspirin, Aspergum

Warfarin Safe for Kidney Patients With Irregular Heartbeat: Study

Posted 4 Mar 2014 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 4, 2014 – People with chronic kidney disease who take the blood thinner warfarin to treat a form of irregular heartbeat are at no greater risk for stroke or death than similar patients who don't take the medicine, researchers report. The Swedish study involved more than 24,000 people diagnosed with heart disease and atrial fibrillation, a common and dangerous form of irregular heartbeat. In atrial fibrillation, blood pools in the heart's chambers, raising the risk for stroke. Researchers led by Juan Jesus Carrero of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm examined the link between treating atrial fibrillation with a blood thinner and patients' kidney function. The study, published in the March 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that taking warfarin was associated with a lower one-year risk of death, heart attack or stroke combined, without ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

Blood Thinners Now Recommended for People With Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 24 Feb 2014 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 24, 2014 – People with an irregular heartbeat should take blood thinners to reduce their risk of stroke, an updated American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guideline recommends. Taking these drugs is especially important for people with irregular heartbeat who have already had a stroke or mini-stroke, experts say. Irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) is a major risk factor for stroke because it causes blood to remain in the heart's upper chambers, according to the AAN. The blood can then form clots that can escape the heart and travel to the brain and cause a stroke. About 5 percent of people with untreated atrial fibrillation are likely to suffer a stroke within the next year, the neurology group pointed out. Blood thinners (anticoagulants) are highly effective in preventing strokes, but may cause bleeding and should be used only under close medical supervision, ... Read more

Related support groups: Xarelto, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Eliquis, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran, Apixaban

Living a Full Life, Irregular Heartbeat and All

Posted 10 Jan 2014 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 10 – Lawrence Schmelz spent a lot of time in the gym keeping his body fit – up to two hours a day, every day, at age 50. But that changed one morning six years ago when the Rockville, Md., resident woke up with the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include the feeling that your heart is racing or skipping a beat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, fainting and fatigue, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "You can feel it in your chest," Schmelz said. "I knew right away something was wrong. It felt like a muscle spasm, and my heart was racing. That morning was the first time I ever noticed it." Schmelz called his doctor's office, and they asked him to come in right away. After an electrocardiogram (EKG), a test that measures the heart's electrical activity, showing how fast it's beating ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

Warfarin May Up Stroke Risk in Those With Irregular Heartbeat: Study

Posted 19 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 – Many older Americans take the blood thinner warfarin to help guard against heart trouble. However, a new study suggests use of the drug is tied to a temporary spike in the risk of stroke for people with a common heart rhythm disorder. People with the irregular heart beat known as atrial fibrillation had nearly double the odds of suffering a stroke in the month after they started taking warfarin, compared to similar patients who weren't taking the medication, researchers report. The findings seem counterintuitive, since many people with atrial fibrillation are placed on warfarin to help lessen their odds for a stroke, the researchers noted. However, prior studies have suggested that there may be an initial period of heightened risk after people move from other drugs to warfarin. Patients who are new to warfarin might also experience a temporary state of ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

Studies Suggest Better Approaches to Staying Clot-Free

Posted 19 Nov 2013 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 – Genetic testing could help better guide doctors' use of warfarin, new research suggests. The blood-thinning medication is widely used to prevent stroke and heart attack in people with irregular heartbeats. Warfarin is a popular medication, but a tricky one to use, the researchers said. Patients who receive too strong a dose can suffer from unusual and excessive bleeding, potentially coughing up or vomiting blood, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). But doctors who used genetic testing to guide patients' warfarin doses were better able to quickly reach and consistently remain within the drug's therapeutic "sweet spot," according to the study. It was published in the Nov. 19 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Tuesday at the AHA's annual meeting in Dallas. "[Blood-thinning] therapy is difficult and it's associated ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

FDA Approves Eliquis to Reduce the Risk of Stroke, Blood Clots in Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

Posted 31 Dec 2012 by Drugs.com

December 28, 2012 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the anti-clotting drug Eliquis (apixaban), an oral tablet used to reduce the risk of stroke and dangerous blood clots (systemic embolism) in patients with atrial fibrillation that is not caused by a heart valve problem. Atrial fibrillation, one of the most common types of abnormal heart rhythm, is an abnormal, irregular, and rapid beating of the heart in which the heart’s two upper chambers (atria) do not contract properly, allowing blood clots to form in them. These clots can break off and travel to the brain or other parts of the body. “Blood clots in the heart can cause a disabling stroke if the clots travel to the brain,” said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Anti-clotting drugs lower the risk ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

New Anti-Clotting Drug Bests Warfarin, Study Says

Posted 1 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 1 – A new anti-clotting drug called apixaban was better than warfarin at preventing stroke in patients with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, a new study found. Data from more than 18,000 patients also found that apixaban was safer overall than warfarin, and tended to cause less bleeding in the skull in patients who faced the highest risk of bleeding. The findings suggest that the current risk scoring systems for tailoring anti-clotting (anticoagulant) treatment to individual patients may be less relevant when using apixaban for patients with atrial fibrillation who have at least one risk factor for stroke, according to the Duke University Medical Center researchers. "The benefits of apixaban are preserved, regardless of the risk score used and regardless of the patient risk category," study author and cardiologist Dr. Renato Lopes said in a Duke news release. ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

More Patients With Irregular Heartbeat Recognize Stroke Risk: Survey

Posted 9 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 – Patients with atrial fibrillation – a heart rhythm disorder – are increasingly aware of the link between their condition and the increased risk of stroke, according to a recent survey. Atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that affects about 2.7 million people in the United States. A 2011 survey of more than 500 people with atrial fibrillation found that half of them were unaware they had a fivefold increased risk of suffering a stroke. But the more recent American Heart Association/American Stroke Association 2012 poll of 500 people with atrial fibrillation found that 64 percent knew about this level of increased stroke risk. The improved awareness "is a great step in the right direction," association spokesperson Dr. Patrick Ellinor, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, ... Read more

Related support groups: Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

Irregular Heartbeat May Pose Higher Stroke Risk for Women Than Men

Posted 31 Aug 2012 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 – Women older than 75 who have a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation are 20 percent more likely to have a stroke than men in the same age group with atrial fibrillation, according to a large new study. However, researchers said the findings suggest that being a woman should not be included as an independent risk factor for stroke or blood clots, either in guidelines for treatment or risk assessment of patients with atrial fibrillation, because the difference doesn't hold for women younger than 75. The study included more than 87,000 atrial fibrillation patients in Denmark. Of those patients, more than 51 percent were female. After one year of follow-up, female patients younger than 75 did not have an increased risk of stroke, but those over age 75 had a 20 percent increased risk, the investigators found. The study was presented Sunday at the European ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Atrial Fibrillation, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Lovenox, Heparin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Enoxaparin, Clexane, Rivaroxaban, Fragmin, Arixtra, Hep-Pak, Fondaparinux, Dalteparin, Jantoven, Dabigatran, Normiflo, Tinzaparin

Heart Rhythm Disorder May Raise Older Women's Stroke Risk

Posted 2 Jun 2012 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 1 – Women with a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation are slightly more likely to suffer a stroke than men with the condition, according to a new study. The finding suggests that doctors need to consider patients' sex when making decisions about treatment, the researchers said. Atrial fibrillation raises the risk of blood clots and stroke, and people with the condition are sometimes prescribed anti-clotting drugs. "In borderline situations, in which a decision about whether to give anticoagulation treatment weighs in the balance, we suggest that female sex should probably tip the scale towards initiating treatment," the researchers from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and University of Birmingham in England wrote in the report published online May 31 in BMJ. The study included more than 100,000 atrial fibrillation patients in Sweden who were followed for an ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

New Blood Thinner May Lower Chances of Clots in High-Risk Heart Patients: FDA

Posted 21 May 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 21 – The new blood thinner Xarelto appears to lower the chances of potentially fatal blood clots in high-risk heart patients, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration review has found. The review came in briefing documents that were filed Monday in advance of an FDA advisory panel meeting Wednesday, at which the panel is to vote on whether to recommend approval of Xarelto for treating people with acute coronary syndrome (a group of conditions brought on by sudden reduced blood flow to the heart). The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its expert panels, but the agency typically does. A final decision is expected by the end of June, according to the documents. Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is one of a new class of blood thinners that have been developed to overcome some of the problems that exist with the standard treatment, warfarin (Coumadin), which requires constant dose ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Xarelto, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Acute Coronary Syndrome, Rivaroxaban

Irregular Heartbeat Poses Greater Stroke Risk for Women Than Men

Posted 8 May 2012 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 8 – Older women with the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation face a 14 percent greater risk of stroke than men with the same condition, Canadian researchers report. The raised risk remained higher even when women were taking the blood-thinner warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent stroke, the study authors noted. "Previously, there was a common belief that women were undertreated, and this was the cause for the higher risk of stroke," said lead researcher Dr. Louise Pilote, director of the division of general internal medicine at McGill University and McGill University Health Center in Montreal. "Our current paper shows that this is not the situation and, compared to men, women have higher risk for stroke regardless of warfarin prescriptions," she said. "This study should alert doctors treating patients with atrial fibrillation that women, especially older women, have ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Ischemic Stroke, Atrial Fibrillation, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven

Stopping Blood Thinners Raises Stroke Risk for Patients With Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 25 Apr 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 25 – When patients with atrial fibrillation stop taking anti-clotting drugs, their stroke risk goes up quickly, new research finds. That risk increases about the same whether they are taking warfarin or a newer, more expensive drug, Xarelto (rivaroxaban). Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm in which the upper chambers of the heart quiver or flutter instead of contracting correctly, raising the risk of stroke fivefold. Patients are often put on anti-clotting drugs to ward off stroke. But some people need to temporarily stop taking anti-clotting drugs before surgery or other medical procedures to prevent excess bleeding, while other patients permanently stop taking anti-clotting drugs because of side effects, researchers said. Researchers analyzed data from a previous trial including more than 14,000 patients with atrial fibrillation. In that trial, ... Read more

Related support groups: Coumadin, Warfarin, Atrial Fibrillation, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran, Jantoven

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