Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Stroke is one of the three most common causes of deaths in Jamaica and the United Kingdom alongside cancer and heart disease. It is predicted that by 2020, heart disease and stroke will be the leading causes of death and disability, and will globally account for more than a million deaths per year.
The good news is that new generations of drugs that prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and for the treatment of patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) are just coming into use. These agents such as Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) offer real hope of bringing protection to many more patients than is currently achieved with existing approaches.
Xarelto is a highly effective, oral anticoagulant developed to prevent and treat dangerous blood clots in a wide range of patients.
According to Professor Alexander Turpie, guest speaker at the product's recent launch held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Xarelto has a rapid onset of action with a predictable dose response and high bioavailability, no requirement for routine coagulation monitoring or regular renal monitoring, as well as a limited potential for food and drug interactions.
"Xarelto has been tested in more than 60,000 patients worldwide. It is highly effective in the prevention and treatment of VTE without the difficulties and limitations of traditional treatments like warfarin, and patients can be managed more easily," Turpie said.
"Xarelto has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for a wide range of patients with, or at risk of VTE, as well as in a broad range of other thromboembolic conditions," Turpie added.
According to Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, consultant cardiologist at the Heart Institute of Jamaica, as persons get older, they are more at risk for hypertension, heart disease and stroke. "This new drug protects patients. Just one pill per day is extremely convenient. The dosage is available in 10mg, 15mg, 20mg and is prescribed following analysis of the patient's renal function," Tulloch-Reid said.
"There are minimal side effects and it does not affect the liver. However, we are careful in patients with diminished renal functions. We also ensure that the patient is complying with the treatment. With regular warfarin, it can take up to five days to come out of the body, however, with Xarelto it takes just 24 hours," Tulloch-Reid said.
There is a flat costing for the product of $400 per day, however, it is now in the process of being approved by the varying health insurance companies and institutions and should be available at a lower cost, once it is approved.
To learn more about 'Xarelto' please visit www.xarelto.com.