THURSDAY, Jan. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The blood thinner Eliquis (apixaban) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help prevent stroke and dangerous blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation that isn't caused by a heart valve problem.
Atrial fibrillation is a common type of abnormal heart rhythm, in which the heart's two chambers don't contract normally. This may promote the formation of blood clots, which can travel to the brain and elsewhere, the FDA said in a news release.
Eliquis was evaluated in a clinical study of more than 18,000 people. People who took Eliquis had fewer strokes than those who took another anti-clotting drug, warfarin, the FDA said. As with similar drugs, the most frequent serious reaction to Eliquis was significant bleeding, the agency added.
Eliquis should not be taken by people with prosthetic heart valves, or by people whose atrial fibrillation is caused by a heart valve problem, the FDA said.
The drug is produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb, based in Princeton, N.J.
The American Heart Association has more about atrial fibrillation.