AF is a common form of irregular heartbeat.
Pradaxa is an alternative treatment to warfarin and trials have found that it can reduce stroke risk in patients who suffer from AF.
The drug is now due to be reviewed by the health watchdog NICE for England and Wales to determine whether it is suitable for widespread use by the NHS. SIGN will also be reviewing this possible treatment for NHS Scotland.
Jon Barrick, Chief Executive of The Stroke Association says, “Warfarin is a highly effective treatment for stroke prevention, but it is often underused by GPs and health professionals. One of the reasons being because patients have to have regular blood tests to monitor its effects.
“In some recent research conducted for The Stroke Association only 40 per cent of GPs said they would treat AF patients with warfarin.
“For a long time there has been a need for a useful alternative treatment to warfarin which can be used when warfarin is not appropriate. This new medication appears to be promising, however it’s important to note that it won’t be suitable for all and every AF patient needs to be treated on a case by case basis to ensure that they receive the best possible treatment for them.”