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Amber Scott
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Is Pradaxa® better or worse than warfarin?

12 comments

Pradaxa was introduced to the U.S. in October 2010 to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat. It was thought to perform better than anticoagulant warfarin, which has been used since 1954 but requires frequent blood tests and takes a toll on the liver. However, Pradaxa’s drawbacks were revealed within weeks after its release when a number of reports linked the drug to side effects including heart attack, brain hemorrhaging, internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, and death.

This January, a group of Cleveland Clinic researchers found a 33 percent increased risk for heart attack across seven trials including more than 30,000 patients. But Pradaxa’s maker, Boehringer Ingelheim, is skeptical."We don't agree with the conclusion and the method used for this meta-analysis,” says Dr. John Smith, senior vice president for clinical development and medical affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Based on all the data, we conclude that heart attack is not an adverse consequence of Pradaxa treatment."

Cleveland Clinic’s research team isn’t yet certain. “It's possible Pradaxa doesn't increase heart attack risk directly, but it may not be as effective as warfarin and aspirin in preventing heart attacks,” says Dr. Ken Uchino, director of the Vascular Neurology Fellowship Training Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

A 2009 study showed that Pradaxa is 34 percent better at lowering stroke risk than Warfarin. But Pradaxa’s risk for uncontrolled bleeding is higher. Earlier this month, an 83-year-old man died of severe brain bleeding after a simple fall that can be common among the elderly.

Roughly 2 million people take blood thinning medications every day to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming and causing a heart attack or stroke. Warfarin is the most commonly prescribed anticoagulant, and 31 million prescriptions were written for the drug in 2004.

Dr. Uchino suggests weighing Pradaxa and warfarin’s pros and cons with your doctor. “The risk appears to be there,” Uchino says of Pradaxa, “but the benefit is there, too. I don’t think it’s that straightforward. A lot of things in medicine aren’t straightforward.”

12 Comments

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  1. Debbie Mock says:
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    what about the millions of people that pradaxa will save their lives. I don’t see you saying anything about that. But then thats what the public should expect coming from blood sucking cockroach attorney’s out to make a buck.If you are going to share info of any drug then you also need to print all the truth not the part that helps you line your pockets, which is minute compared to what this drug can do for millions of people. you should be ashamed. Any new drug that hits the market, the cockroaches come out of the wood work. Your more distructive than ant drug.

  2. a friend says:
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    My friend has had to go to the emergency room twice, and was hospitalized twice, this week alone. He has very low blood pressure, failing kidneys, and bleeding. His Internist puts the blame squarely on Pradaxa, and said it will take 30 days to rid the drug from his system.

    His Cardiologist put him on Pradaxa 3 weeks ago. We both have the same Cardiologist, who also urged me to change to Pradaxa. Wisely, I declined.

    This drug is being widely advertised on television. I do hope Dr’s. are not getting a ‘kickback’ from prescribing this drug…just saying…

    Pradaxa needs to have more rigorous testing before being foisted on the unawares public.

    Nothing is a miracle pill; they all have serious side effects.

  3. Debbie Mock says:
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    Yes you are right about the general public not knowing about all the drugs on the market. Everyone has a different body chemistry and their bodies can react differently.That is exactly why your and your friends cardiologist should have ran the correct testing on his kidneys and etc…Your cardiologist should have paid attention to the side effects for each individual they prescribe to. Pradaxa is not to be prescribed to ANYONE that has had kidney disease.It’s easy for the public to point their fingers and blame on the pharmaceutical companys than it is to blame their physicans…Physicans are suppose to follow stick guidelines when prescribing any drug for a patient…I suggest you and your friend need to look into finding yourselfs another cardiologist that will pay more attention before he prescribes anything to a patient without proper testing first.

  4. Debbie Mock says:
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    JUST AN EXAMPLE : penicillin is one of the most widely used drugs for decades. It has caused deaths since it’s beginning and still causes deaths. Some people just cannot take it for one reason or the other. But it is still a miracle LIFE SAVING drug for the millions of other people.

  5. Liane says:
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    I am taking pradaxa since April 2011 . I am very pleased with it. No side affects. It’s true that it should be prescribed to patients with the right kidney performance .
    The only comment that I would suggest is to take it with a full glass of water and during a meal.
    I would never go back to waferin .
    Liane

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    @Debbie Mock, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not sure what article you read, but this article does not suggest Pradaxa is bad or should be pulled from the shelves. Probably no need to resort to petty name calling. “Cockroaches,” really? You can do better than that as a person, I think.

    What the article does do is provide important information. It even quotes the fact that the people who conducted the study aren’t sure if the connection is real. Is information bad?

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    @Debbie Mock re: Penicillin. Nobody is talking about pulling drugs. What you’re engaging in is called a “false dilemma,” making the argument sound like it must be A or B, drugs on the market or no drugs on the market. That’s not suggested by this article, that’s not an argument I read here, that’s your invention. Maybe find someone who is making that argument, and argue with them?

    And in case you are getting your arguments from bad sources, before you attack lawyers consider that the majority of the founding fathers were lawyers. Trial by jury (not by angry talk show radio host or corporate-bought politicians) is an important constitutional right for a reason, it is the “lungs of liberty”:

    “Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds.” John Adams, 1774.

    Worth considering.

  8. Mike Bryant says:
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    Ms. Mock, do you work for one of the companies or do you use the drug? Maybe both. As Wil has already said, the article doesn’t even come near to say what you claim it does.
    Many of us here, have written a number of times about the importance of safety. A drug that works and saves lives is as much a key part of a healthy society as anything else.
    But, that being said, there are far to many example of false testing, faulty support articles, and simple lies about the side effects of many drugs. People need the same sort of protection in those cases as they do with the medical issues.

  9. Debbie Mock says:
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    Well I see that I have stirred a hornets nest.No I do not work for a pharmaceutical company nor do I take the drug or any others.Your right our founding fathers were attorneys but where can you show me they ever went after large corporations to make money. Unlike attorneys this day and time.You all know whether you want to admit it or not that is an easy way for attorneys to make money, on large corporations. IT”S NOT RIGHT. And concerning the 83 year old man that died of complications of a fall. He was not even suppose to be taking Pradaxa,it’s not suppose to be prescribed to anyone over 75.

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    Debbie, you didn’t “stir the hornets’ nest,” you called names and made ad hoc attacks on an entire profession without knowledge or basis in fact.

    “But where can you show me they ever went after large corporations to make money,” you ask. What large corporations are you talking about in 1774? Corporations were run by and through governments, and it was precisely the marriage of money and political power that the founding fathers were concerned about: putting money and power above freedom.

    When you hurt someone with a product you sell, you are responsible for that harm, whether you are an individual or a large corporation. Do you think large corporations get a pass? Why?

    You are angry and upset that individuals–like you, by the way–dare to stand up to poor large corporations. Doesn’t that sound strange? Where do you think you’ve been fed that fear?

    Here’s another quote for you to wrestle with: “Trial by jury is the best appendage of freedom.”
    Patrick Henry.

  11. Debbie Mock says:
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    Yes you are right there were no large corp.1774. I am talking 2012.

    Please know that I am not angry or upset,but if I need to stand up for something I will against any corp…That doesn’t scare me in the least.I have done it before.

    Let me quote you “you are angry and upset that individuals–like you,by the way–dare to stand up to poor large corporations.Doesn’t that sound strange? Where do you think you’ve been fed that fear?”
    Does this give certain(not All)attorneys the right to GO AFTER individuals or solicit them so as to try and find a reason to sue someone? That is what I’m against…

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    Debbie,

    Now I better understand your concerns. I have to admit that I see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, “soliciting” clients is distasteful, and has been treated as unethical by lawyer bar associations for decades.

    On the other hand, consider these two points. First, people may not know they have a claim. We’re investigating cases involving an osteoporosis drug, Fosamax, that allegedly causes femur (thighbone) fractures. These breaks are spontaneous and unexplained. Most people never even guess that there might be a connection without either hearing a news report (which many people do not), or seeing an attorney advertisement. In that sense, there is a public information element to this–and it is not like the attorney “creates” the case, there is a case or there isn’t regardless.

    Second, what other business is considered “bad” for selling to customers? Are doctors bad when they educate people about the latest possibilities in treating heart disease? Or pharmaceutical companies? This is a strangely unique issue.

    But again, I find direct attorney advertising crass, so I’m somewhere in middle.