Since stroke prevention is one of the biggest concerns when doctors prescribe new prescription medications for AF patients, the guidelines have to be as up-to-date as possible. At this year’s Cardiostim 2012, two experts who are actually going to work on creating the new European guidelines offered a grand preview of just what those guidelines will be focusing on. One of those topics is the newest anticoagulant medications to hit the market and they will also address any questions about those drugs.

“In the coming years, we won’t have to decide who needs anticoagulant therapy — because that’s practically all patients with atrial fibrillation — but we will suddenly have to pick which anticoagulant to use,” Dr. Paulus Kirchhof (University of Birmingham, UK) explained during a presentation entitled, “What should the new guideline revisions on stroke prevention look like?”

For a while, experts were against drugs like Warfarin and Multaq, which held status as the only choice patients could make in trying to prevent strokes in AF patients; however, that was until the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) clinical trial revealed that the new drug Dabigatran worked just as well. This study changed everything, and may make drugs like Multaq obsolete. After RE-LY, more drugs started hitting the scene, including Rivaroxaban and Apixaban, which are being touted as alternatives to Multaq and Warfarin. This will likely make many doctors feel relief when choosing which drug to prescribe to AF patients for stroke prevention.

Multaq, an anticoagulant medication made by Sanofi-Aventis, once was viewed to be just as viable as Warfarin in stroke prevention for AF patients. However, that opinion quickly changed after patients began suffering from liver failure while taking the drug. Eventually, the PALLAS clinical study also revealed that Multaq caused many patients to experience a worsening of their heart conditions — and some patients even started dying. These side effects made many doctors refuse to prescribe Multaq altogether. These newer drugs may finally be able to provide doctors and patients with safer alternatives.

So far, Kirchhof is not able to explain exactly how these European guidelines are going to respond to the new drugs. However, so far it seems as if these new meds are going to be preferable for stroke prevention than Warfarin for the average AF patient.

“New anticoagulants give us a way to treat those patients who are untreated so far,” he notes. “That is the most prominent benefit. In terms of safety, I would think people would prefer the new anticoagulants over vitamin-K antagonists, because even in patients in RE-LY who were well controlled, the rare fatal bleed is just less likely on the new anticoagulants than on vitamin-K antagonists.”

If you or a loved one have developed liver failure or a worsening of your heart condition after using Multaq, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.