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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What do you think about Pradaxa, the new blood thinner?

Any comments about the new drug that has just been approved by the FDA and supposedly will take Warfarin's place - Pradaxa?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

I don't normally answer questions not related to diet and nutrition but many of our readers are Coumadin (warfarin) users so I will make an exception.

This medication has been approved by the FDA only for prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Dabigatran has been on the market for some time in Europe. I actually had a few patients in the clinical trials before approval (they did well, by the way). It was shown to be slightly more effective than warfarin and slightly lower risk of major bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke.

It has not been approved for other uses such as chronic blood clotting disorders, acute blood clots and artificial heart valves. Nor is it approved for prevention of stroke in those patients who do not have atrial fibrillation.

It is much more expensive than Coumadin or generic warfarin, even when one includes the cost of testing that is involved in monitoring INR levels.

Check with your physician to see if this is an alternative for you.

More information:

FDA Consumer Updates
"When Might Warfarin PGx Be Better Than Pradaxa? Stakeholders Weigh In" - via GenomeWeb

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet