Blood Thinner Pradaxa Not Having Big Impact
The blood thinner abigatran, or Pradaxa, was rapidly adopted into clinical practice, but it's had little atrial fibrillation impact, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, a research scientist in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, used data from the IMS National Disease and Therapeutic Index, a nationally representative audit of ambulatory providers.
Alexander and colleagues quantified patterns of oral anti-coagulant -- dabigatran and warfarin -- use among study participants from 2007 to 2011.
Pharmacy expenditures for warfarin and dabigatran were quantified using a nationally representative audit of retail, mail order and long-term care pharmacies, Alexander said.
The National Institutes of Health says patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke and previous research indicated use of oral anti-coagulants may reduce the risk of stroke by up to two-thirds.
The study, published in the journal “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes,” found despite rapid adoption of dabigatran for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, a large proportion of patients -- 2-in-5 -- did not receive oral anti-coagulant therapy.
In addition, although the majority of dabigatran utilization was for its U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved indication, atrial fibrillation, an increasing proportion of use was for off-label indications such as venous thromboembolism -- blood clot.