Physicians at the Maywood, Ill-based Loyola University Medical Center report that the drug Coumadin may eventually be replaced by a new generation of blood-thinning drugs to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) patients at risk for stroke. In a recently published journal article, researchers indicate that newer drugs do not require regular clinic visits to check the dose or extensive dietary restrictions. Sarkis Morales-Vidal, MD, served as lead author of the review.

According to Morales-Vidal and his team, the new drugs evaluated in the article include rivaroxaban (Xarelto), dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis). Researchers add that the drugs do not exhibit any of the disadvantages linked to Coumadin, known in its generic form as warfarin, and may offer patients equal or superior protections against clots. Experts report that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved dabigatran and rivaroxaban to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with non-valvular AF. Apixaban is also reportedly being considered by the FDA for the same use.

Newer drugs, like dabigatran and rivaroxaban both serve as effective alternatives to Coumadin for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular AF, the article indicates. The article also suggests that apixaban offers non-valvular AF patients more protection against stroke than aspirin.

The authors add that the new drugs’ disadvantages include limited clinical experience and lack of antidotes. The drugs are also more expensive than Coumadin, yet they ultimately may reduce the cost of patient monitoring and blood testing, Morales-Vidal says.

According to the authors, the new drugs may replace Coumadin as treatment for selective non-valvular AF patients within the coming years.

Source: Loyola University Health System