NICE approves anti-stroke drug15th March 2012
A drug which has the potential to prevent up to 5,000 strokes a year in Britain is to be made available on the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has given the go-ahead for the blood-thinning pill pradaxa to be made available on prescription on the NHS in England and Wales.
Described as the “holy grail” of blood-thinning drugs, it reduces the risk of a stroke in people with the heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AF) – where the heart’s chamber fail to beat in rhythm, causing blood to pool and form clots and potentially lead to a stroke.
Pradaxa manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim has estimated that 5,000 strokes could be prevented every year if people who were given the drug instead of the blood-thinning agent warafin.
A study of 18,000 people with AF found that taking 150mg of Pradaxa daily reduced the risk of stroke by between 30% and 39%, compared to those on warfarin, depending on the type of AF.
Pradaxa costs £2.50 a day, compared to £1 a day for warfarin.
However, warfarin requires patients to undergo regular blood monitoring to ensure they are receiving the right amount.
While welcoming the NICE guidance, the Stroke Association has also warned that the new medication will not be suitable for all patients.
And the NICE guidance only applies to those aged 65 or older with AF, who also have diabetes, coronary heart disease or high blood pressure, or those aged 75 or older with other risk factors.
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Title: NICE approves anti-stroke drug
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 21400
Date Added: 15th Mar 2012