Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH’s Pradaxa blood thinner lowered the risk of major bleeding in patients taking the drug to prevent another stroke or stroke-like attack, according to a new analysis of a study.
People taking Pradaxa had a lower rate of life-threatening bleeding, a feared side effect of anti-clot medicines, than those taking the older treatment warfarin, according to the analysis published today in The Lancet Neurology journal. The researchers also found that Pradaxa, known as dabigatran, was as effective as warfarin in preventing stroke, though the results weren’t statistically significant.
People who have had a stroke or a temporary disturbance of blood flow to the brain known as a transient ischemic attack have more than double the risk of having another attack, said Deirdre Lane and Gregory Yip of the University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences in England. Doctors need evidence to help them balance the risk of stroke and the risk of internal bleeding, they said.
“Physicians can face difficult decisions when choosing which dose of dabigatran to prescribe for patients and these analyses offer some evidence to guide these decisions,” Lane and Yip wrote in a comment accompanying the study.
Researchers analyzed results from 3,623 patients who had had a stroke or transient ischemic attack. The group was part of a study dubbed RE-LY that examined 18,113 patients with an erratic heartbeat that can increase the risk of stroke. The analysis of the smaller patient group found those taking the lower of two doses of Pradaxa had a significantly lower rate of death from any cause.
Boehringer, based in Ingelheim, Germany, funded the study. The company is the world’s largest family-owned drugmaker.