Physicians and patients have been waiting for over 20 years for a substitute for the drug warfarin, which is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and also available in generic versions.
Approximately 3 million Americans suffer the affects of atrial fibrillation. This ailment is common in people over the age of 70, affecting as many as 1 in 10. Blood thinners such as warfarin, reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes in people who have atrial fibrillation.
Warfarin is a safe and effective drug; although it has to be monitored frequently, the patient needs to visit his doctor at least once monthly. Moreover, it reacts with many other drugs, green vegetables, and other foods.
For the first time, a large-scale study shows the benefits of a blood thinner drug match that of warfarin. In the past ximelagatran was a contender for this spot, but results showed it could be toxic to the liver. Warfarin has been on the market for over 50 years and until now there has not been a drug that matched its record of effectiveness and safety until now.
Dabigatran, currently marketed in Europe, is just one of the new compounds on the market that will give warfarin a run for its money. Xarelto, betrixaban, and apixaban are also nearing the last stages of development. The future looks brighter for those people who need to take blood thinners. Pending approval one of the new drugs may be available as early as next year.