Professor introduces new drug

The anti-coagulant drug, Xarelto is set to revolutionise the care of blood clots and the prevention of strokes in patients in Barbados.

Professor Alexander Turpie made this prediction recently, while introducing the drug to members of the Press at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Turpie, a McMaster University researcher, predicts that Xarelto, a new oral blood thinner, will revolutionise treatment in eliminating dangerous blood clots in patients undergoing hip and knee surgery.

Turpie, who is a professor of Medicine in the Michael G. De Groote School of Medicine in Canada, oversaw four major international studies on the drug.

All studies found the drug was significantly more effective than the current standard enoxaparin in preventing venous thrombosis.

He pointed out that venous thrombosis begins with a blood clot in a vein and is a serious, frequent and potentially fatal complication of major orthopedic surgery.

He noted that Heparin and Warfarin were the anti-coagulants commonly used to treat this condition, but Wafarin in particular is difficult to monitor because it changes with diet, other drugs and alcohol.†The professor pointed out that brain haemorrhaging was reduced by 50 per cent with the use of Xarelto.

The external examiner in medicine for the University of the West Indies noted that Xarelto, which was developed by Bayer, prevents blood clots from forming after surgery. The medication also lowers the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with certain heart rhythm problems.

The medical expert noted that people with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat) were at an increased risk of forming a blood clot in the heart, which could travel to the brain causing a stroke.

The professor warned that the threat of blood clots went far beyond orthopedic surgery, pointing out that blood clots were one of the leading causes of disease and death in patients globally, including those with atrial fibrillation, heart attacks and acutely ill with conditions related to cancer.

It has been said that the drug has been shown to have a wide “therapeutic window” without the need for routine monitoring.

Meanwhile, Cardiologist, Dr Raymond Massey who attended the launch, welcomed the new medication and recalled cases where patients who had survived hip surgery and were in good spirits succumbed to a blood clot a few hours later.

The consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital also welcomed the introduction of Xarelto noting that too many patients in Barbados are succumbing to strokes on a daily basis.†(NC)

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