Pradaxa, a stroke drug has been declared to be a safer and easier blood thinning treatment in fifty years by researchers, at the American College of Cardiology's annual conference.
The drug that people in Britain had been using, warfarin, is actually used as a rat poison, and patients have to regularly go through tests to prevent an over dosage. Foods like spinach and broccoli prevented the drug from working properly and, cranberries made it more potent, leading to dangerous bleeding.
But, with Pradaxa, these problems do not exist, and it is actually 39 per cent more effective at preventing strokes. Researchers looked at 18,000 men and women with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder that poses an increased risk of stroke. 15 per cent of the strokes that occur each year in Britain are due to atrial fibrillation. And yet, people do not take warfarin because of the dangerous side effects it produces. But this new oral anticoagulant could be the long-awaited option. It has already been licensed to prevent clots after hip, knee and other types of orthopaedic surgery.
Despite the fact that Pradaxa is very expensive, at £2.50 a day and requiring two doses every day, Trudie Lobban, chief executive of the Atrial Fibrillation Association, says, 'Patients have waited a long time for an alternative to warfarin. Dabigatran etexilate [ Pradaxa] has the potential not only to improve stroke prevention but also to greatly improve people's quality of life.'