Charity Lifeblood has called on doctors to use
blood-thinning drug Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) on a regular basis so as to
avoid unnecessary deaths from fatal blood clots.
"The prevention of blood clots with blood thinners
after surgery is not done well in the UK," said Lifeblood's medical
director, Dr Beverley Hunt. "The need for and potential impact of a
generally well-tolerated oral anticoagulant that does not require monitoring is
Pradaxa is the first blood-thinner to hit the markets
since Warfarin was released in 1950s. Most patients of knee and hip surgery are
likely to suffer from fatal blood clots and with no preventive measures in
place, they often succumb to them.
It is estimated that over 25,000 patients die from blood
clots in Britain each year.
Pradaxa is a once-daily tablet and is initially proposed
to be used for hip and knee replacement surgery. This is because such patients
are immobile for days together and are at an increased risk of blood clots.
Judy O'Sullivan, cardiac nurse at the British Heart
Foundation welcomed the introduction of Pradaxa, "We look forward to
seeing how Pradaxa may benefit patients who have had orthopaedic surgery and
hope that it will prove to be useful for a wider group of patients," she
Pradaxa costs Ģ4.20 a