The newly approved drug Xarelto appears to prevent strokes at least as well as the standard treatment warfarin in people who have a heart condition that puts them at high risk for blood clots, a study shows.
Xarelto was approved by the FDA in July to prevent dangerous blood clots in people having hip and knee replacement surgery.
Next month, a panel of experts will consider whether the agency should also approve its use as a once-daily treatment for atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to pump in an irregular, uncoordinated way that may allow blood to pool and clot in its upper chambers. Those clots can travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are commonly prescribed the blood-thinning drug warfarin, which is also sold under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven.