New blood thinner not having big impact

Sept. 24, 2012 at 10:54 PM

BALTIMORE, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The blood thinner abigatran, or Pradaxa, was rapidly adopted into clinical practice, but it's had little atrial fibrillation impact, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, a research scientist in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, used data from the IMS National Disease and Therapeutic Index, a nationally representative audit of ambulatory providers.

Alexander and colleagues quantified patterns of oral anti-coagulant -- dabigatran and warfarin -- use among study participants from 2007 to 2011.

Pharmacy expenditures for warfarin and dabigatran were quantified using a nationally representative audit of retail, mail order and long-term care pharmacies, Alexander said.

The National Institutes of Health says patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke and previous research indicated use of oral anti-coagulants may reduce the risk of stroke by up to two-thirds.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found despite rapid adoption of dabigatran for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, a large proportion of patients -- 2-in-5 -- did not receive oral anti-coagulant therapy.

In addition, although the majority of dabigatran utilization was for its U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved indication, atrial fibrillation, an increasing proportion of use was for off-label indications such as venous thromboembolism -- blood clot.

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