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Stroke drug 'could reduce need for warfarin'

Stroke drug 'could reduce need for warfarin'
1st September 2009

New hope may be provided to people who have fallen victim to a stroke.

A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual congress and published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that a new drug, dabigatran, is 34 per cent more effective than well-controlled warfarin when it comes to reducing the risk of stroke and blood clots.

Keith Muir, a medical advisor for the Stroke Association, said that warfarin is a "highly effective treatment" when used for stroke prevention, though remains underused because of concerns for safety and the need for regular blood tests to monitor its progress, throwing up financial constraints.

Despite this, Mr Muir found it encouraging that the new trial indicated that dabigatran may offer a "useful alternative" to warfarin for the prevention of strokes in certain circumstances.

He continued: "However, the trial only involved people who could equally well have taken warfarin and anyone currently taking warfarin should continue it unless advised by their doctor."

Each year in the UK, 67,000 deaths are directly attributed to stroke.

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