Dabigatran added to recommendations for treating AF

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The “Focused Update”, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, Journal of the American College of Cardiology and HeartRhythm Journal, specifically updates the section on emerging antithrombotic agents in atrial fibrillation treatment guidelines released by the three organisations on 20 December 2010.

According to this most recent update, dabigatran is useful as an alternative to warfarin to prevent stroke and blood clots in patients with either paroxysmal or permanent atrial fibrillation, and with risk factors for stroke or blood clotting who do not have a prosthetic heart valve, significant heart valve disease, severe renal failure or advanced liver disease.

Warfarin, an anti-clotting drug used since the 1950s, requires patients to have regular testing to monitor its effectiveness and dosage adjustment.

In December 2010 the atrial fibrillation guidelines were updated and recommended that a combination of aspirin and the oral antiplatelet drug clopidogrel might be considered to prevent stroke or other types of blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation who are poor candidates for the clot-preventing drug warfarin.