New Treatment for Stroke Prevention in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

August 31, 2010

The oral blood thinner apixaban prevents stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who are not suitable candidates for treatment with warfarin.

Research shows that a new oral blood thinner prevents stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who are not suitable candidates for treatment with warfarin.

Investigators from McMaster University involved with the AVERROES (Apixaban Versus Acetylsalicylic Acid to Prevent Strokes) study recently reported that the trial has been halted because a review of efficacy and safety data by the data monitoring committee found that patients in the trial experienced “a relative risk reduction for stroke and systemic embolism of more than 50.” This “highly statistically significant” result was accompanied by only “a modest increase in major hemorrhage that was not statistically significant.”

These findings were announced by principal investigator Stuart Connolly at the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 31.

According to Connolly, Connolly, a professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster, “The results of AVERROES are truly impressive… The reduction in stroke and systemic embolism is very important and the increased risk of hemorrhage is small. It appears that apixaban will be an excellent treatment for the many patients with atrial fibrillation who are unsuitable for warfarin. These findings will reduce the burden of stroke in society.”