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An Alternative to Warfarin

New drug may offer same stroke protection

THURSDAY, Nov. 20, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The anti-clotting drug ximelagatran may prove a safe and effective alternative to warfarin for people with atrial fibrillation at high risk of stroke, says new research.

Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of cardiac blood clots, which can result in ischemic stroke. Warfarin, which thins the blood, has been used for decades to treat people at high risk of stroke. But warfarin has numerous potential problems, including an increased risk of bleeding and a possible interaction with food and other medications.

This study, published in the Nov. 22 issue of The Lancet, included 3,407 patients in Europe, Asia and Australia who had atrial fibrillation and at least one risk factor for stroke. The patients were randomly given either warfarin or oral ximelagatran. Average patient follow-up took place after 17 months.

The study found oral ximelagatran was at least as effective as warfarin in reducing the frequency of stroke or systemic blood clots. The study also found the rates of disabling or fatal stroke, death and major bleeding was similar in both groups.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about atrial fibrillation.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Nov. 20, 2003
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