Health

New Atrial Fibrillation Drug

Here’s important news for people with the abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation.

An experimental drug, called apixaban or Eliquis, appears better than the old standby Warfarin. Atrial Fibrillation a common condition and these drugs are prescribed to prevent dangerous clots that can cause a stroke. Warfarin is notoriously tricky to modulate and needs to be closely monitored — usually through monthly doctors’ visits. If the drug’s activity isn’t checked regularly it can trigger severe bleeding episodes, the most serious of which can happen in the brain.

The authors of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine say this new drug has a lot of advantages over Warfarin.

Doctors say with apixaban, patients can use a standard dose that doesn’t need monitoring and adjusting. Also, unlike Warfarin, apixaban has few interactions with other drugs or foods.

The study was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, the makers of apixaban. The company says because it is still an experimental drug its price tag remains uncertain. There’s no word on when the government may consider approving this medication.

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