A new drug has been approved for prescription to patients at risk of stroke and comes with a reduced risk of bleeding when compared to warfarin.
Around one million older adults in the UK have atrial fibrillation, whereby the chambers of the heat beat out of synch, causing blood to pool and clot. These clots can then cause strokes if they become stuck and block blood flow to the brain.
Most of these people are prescribed warfarin to thin the blood, reducing the risk of stroke by two-thirds, the Daily Telegraph reports.
However, regular blood tests are required to ensure the dosage remains correct as the drug - initially developed as a rat poison - can cause bleeds and brain haemorrhages.
As a result, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have issued a recommendation for doctors in England and Wales to prescribe apixaban, produced using the brand name Eliquis.
Results of an 18-month study suggest apixaban lowers the chances of having a stroke by 21 per cent and reduces major bleeds by 31 per cent, in comparison with warfarin.
It is thought that, compared to taking no medication, apixaban cuts the risk of stroke by 81 per cent.
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