New Stroke Drug Could Replace Warfarin

Blood thinner Pradaxa was 34% more effective in trials
By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 5:57 AM CDT
Warfarin in high doses is used in rat poison.   (©Jug Jones)
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(Newser) – In what could be a sea change in the fight against strokes, a new blood-thinning drug could soon replace the 50-year-old warfarin, reports the Wall Street Journal. Boehringer Ingelheim's new drug, Pradaxa, proved to be 34% more effective at reducing the risk of stroke and 15% better at stopping fatal strokes than warfarin in clinical tests. Pradaxa also doesn't carry the same risks, which include of poor interaction with other drugs and foods as common as green vegetables.

Millions of people suffer from heart-rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, which is sometimes treated with warfarin—a drug used in high doses as rat poison. Pradaxa, also called dabigatran, inhibits the effects of thrombin, which is a naturally occurring substance responsible for blood clotting. More tests are needed before official approval of the drug.