Physicians welcome dabigatran etexilate as alternative to warfarin

In a guest editorial, 2 researchers highlighted the importance of the FDA approval in October of dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim), an oral thrombin inhibitor that provides an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin, Bristol-Myers Squibb) for long-term stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

In a guest editorial, 2 researchers highlighted the importance of the FDA approval in October of dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim), an oral thrombin inhibitor that provides an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin, Bristol-Myers Squibb) for long-term stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Writing in the inaugural issue of Clinical Investigation, Jeffrey Weitz, MD, and John Eikelboom, MBBS, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said the approval of dabigatran etexilate ushers in a new era for long-term anticoagulation therapy.

The advent of dabigatran etexilate provides a solution in the form of an oral anticoagulant that can be given in a fixed dose twice daily and results in such a predictable level of anticoagulation.

Prophylactic anticoagulation with warfarin is commonly used to reduce the risk of stroke, but it is a notoriously difficult drug to administer. The appropriate dose varies by patient, reflecting, at least in part, the patient’s genetic profile, differences in the dietary intake of vitamin K, and multiple drug interactions. Response to warfarin is so variable that frequent monitoring is necessary to ensure that the level of anticoagulation is therapeutic.

The article can be downloaded from the inaugural issue of Clinical Investigation, which is now available online at www.future-science.com/toc/cli/1/1.