The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has stated that edoxaban, known by the lixiana trade name, should be considered as a primary option for preventing stroke in adults.
The drug has been approved for use and it should be suggested to individuals with one or more risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension, prior strokes, congestive heart failure, or anyone aged over 75. This also comes just a month after Nice began recommending edoxaban for those with suspected deep vein thrombosis.
Edoxaban particularly targets non-valvular atrial fibrillation, which affects over a million people in England every year. It causes an abnormally fast and irregular heart rate, causing blood to thicken and pool in the heart chambers - this causes a clot risk and potential strokes later down the line. While it is confirmed that 835,000 people are affected by it in England, there may still be another 250,000 who are undiagnosed.
The main oral anticoagulant currently used, warfarin, has been used widely for the past 50 years, but it is believed to be less cost-effective than edoxaban and requires more frequent monitoring because it carries an increased risk of bleeding. Edoxaban is able to now give medical professionals the ability to better tailor medicine to specific patients.
Martin Cowie, professor of cardiology at Imperial College London, said: “A few years ago, all we had to prevent strokes in AF patients was warfarin, which imposes many lifestyle restrictions on patients and needs monitoring with a blood test system known as INR. Now we are spoilt for choice with modern blood-thinning drugs that do not need INR monitoring and are easy for patients to live with.”
This comes after recent research at Tufts University in Boston, which concluded that walking briskly at two miles per hour could help to halve the risk of heart failure.
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