These days it is nearly impossible to watch television without seeing commercials for one of three drugs, which are part of a new group of blood thinning medications known as New Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs). This relatively new class of drugs includes big names like Xarelto, Eliquis, and Pradaxa. Xarelto makers, for example, have hired golf legend Arnold Palmer and actor Kevin Nealon to promote their product.
All three of these medications offer what their respective makers claims is a better alternative to long used blood thinner, Warfarin. Patients who suffer from a medical condition known as atrial fibrillation or “Afib” need to take a blood thinning medication, because they are at higher risk of developing blood clots. When a blood clot forms, it can block an artery, causing stroke and heart disease. It can also break free from a vein and travel to the lungs, where it can puncture the tissue. This is a serious and often deadly condition known as a pulmonary embolism (PM).
Warfarin is generally safe and effective when a doctor can frequently monitor a patient’s dosage. If the dosage is off, serious bleeding disorders can occur. This means a patient will have to undergo frequent blood tests and have scheduled follow up visits with their doctor. A patient must also closely watch his or her diet, because certain foods can change the rate at which Warfarin is absorbed. These new drugs, like Xarelto, are supposed to be as effective as Warfarin without the need to constantly monitor the patient’s dosage.