Here is important new information for my nurses and nursing students:
Anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) can now be considered as an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin) as treatment for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.
Researchers have concluded that Pradaxa offers some significant advantages to Coumadin. Patients on Pradaxa have a lower risk of bleeding and therefore need less monitoring for changes in clotting parameters.
Both drugs reduce the risk of systemic emboli, clots that form in the atria in patients with atrial fibrillation and travel to the brain, causing strokes. Research has not shown a difference in mortality for patients treated with one drug rather than the other. But a disadvantage of Pradaxa is that it must be taken twice daily while Coumadin only needs to be taken once. Pradaxa is more expensive.
Warfarin has been approved for use since 1954.