AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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How Safe and Effective are New Drugs for Stroke Prevention?

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For decades, warfarin was the only oral blood thinner available to reduce the risk of stroke for patients with atrial fibrillation. Warfarin use is cumbersome because it requires ongoing blood tests to monitor the effect and has numerous drug and food interactions. Now, a number of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC) drugs are available for patients with atrial fibrillation and claim to revolutionize the care for patients with atrial fibrillation. 

“We have strong data from large randomized clinical trials which demonstrate that the new medications are at least as good as warfarin in preventing stroke in atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Noseworthy. “However, the question many clinicals and patients are interested in is how do these medications compare to each other?”

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