New Blood Thinner, Apixaban, Outperforms Warfarin in Trial

Apixaban outperforms warfarin in preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation in a trial.

Results from the ARISTOTLE trial involving “more than 18,000 patients in 39 countries,” were presented by researchers from the Duke University Medical Center at this year’s European Society of Cardiology conference. The results found that apixaban (Eliquis), an experimental blood thinner, outperformed warfarin (Coumadin), the current drug-of-choice for preventing strokes in individuals diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

As roughly 2.6 million Americans live with atrial fibrillation, a condition which causes irregularity in heart rate, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and poor blood flow to the body; these factors can increase an individual’s risk for stroke. According to lead author Christopher B. Granger of Duke University, stated that the possibilities of this new drug include offering a wider range of treatment, which may provide aid to those who are not currently receiving it.

“There is an enormous unmet need for treatment of patients at risk for stroke associated with atrial fibrillation,” Granger reported. “Only about half of patients who should be treated are being treated” due to the limitations of warfarin.

During this randomized, double-blind clinical trial, the researchers found that patients on apixaban were 21% less likely to have a stroke, 31% less likely to have bleeding problems, and had an overall 11% reduction in mortality. When comparing apixaban to warfarin, the researchers learned that apixaban is safe enough for patients that there is no need for patients to have routine blood tests, and has less adverse effects with food and other medications.

Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at UCLA, stated that this research “represents a very important therapeutic advance in the care of patients with atrial fibrillation.”

Apixaban is being developing by Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer.

The study was published in the August 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and was coordinated by Uppsala Clinical Research, Sweden and the Duke Clinical Research Institute.