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New study is more bad news for Pradaxa

Filed April 3rd, 2012 Joshua Sophy

A new study is adding to the evidence that Pradaxa, a drug prescribed in the prevention of stroke, is not nearly as effective and likely more dangerous than its predecessor warfarin.

A new study appearing in Archives of Internal Medicine suggest the ages old drug treatment for thinning the blood to prevent blood clots that can cause stroke, heart attack, and sudden death, warfarin, is highly effective in that task. Its newer competitor, Pradaxa, has not proven to be that successful in its short run on the global market.

The new study believes patients taking warfarin (sold in brand name form as Coumadin) actually see improvement over time taking the drug. Pradaxa has only been on the market since late 2010 and already it has been the source of intense criticism, including the deaths of more than 200 people participating in a clinical trial of the drug. The German-based maker of Pradaxa has not said whether that death rate is higher than it expected.

Pradaxa may not be as effective at reducing the risk of stroke and it also may be causing more damage than good. The drug has been linked to severe bleeding episodes, even following ordinary or minor injuries like a fall. People taking Pradaxa are more likely to suffer severe gastrointestinal or cerebral hemorrhaging than those taking warfarin.

Also adding to concerns over Pradaxa is the fact that it, unlike warfarin, has no antidote and physicians are struggling to treat those bleeding episodes among users of the drug.

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