Scientists from University College London have named apixaban as the safest blood-thinning drug, Annals of Internal Medicine reported.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are prescribed anticoagulants to prevent blood clots and strokes. One of the most common side effects of taking them is gastrointestinal bleeding.
In a large-scale new study, researchers looked at data from nearly 500,000 patients in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States and evaluated the effectiveness and risk of side effects of the four most commonly used anticoagulants: apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban and rivaroxaban. They found that all four drugs were comparable in effectiveness in preventing ischemic stroke and all-cause mortality. At the same time, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding was 19-28% lower with apixaban compared with each of the other three drugs.
The scientists’ findings remained true when they considered data from people over 80 years of age and people with chronic kidney disease.
The authors noted that if their results are confirmed by randomized controlled trials, apixaban may be recommended for patients at high risk of bleeding who need to take anticoagulants.