Blood thinners (anticoagulants) are widely used after orthopedic surgery and in people with abnormal heart rhythms (especially atrial fibrillation). A new drug called Pradaxa (dabigatran) from a novel family of blood thinners known as direct thrombin inhibitors (DTI) gained a class One recommendation (the highest) as an alternative to Coumadin (warfarin).
The joint guidelines from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and Heart Rhythm Society are widely followed and update the prior 2006 guidelines. For those interested in learning more about Pradaxa, please note our new 20-page color Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs publication which is available in printed form from this site and will be available shortly from iBookstore and Amazon for Kindle in electronic format.
It appears that the early promise of this new family of medicines is emerging strongly. Currently, Pradaxa is only approved in the US for use in atrial fibrillation--yet it has broader use in Europe.
The new guidelines appear in the peer reviewed journal Circulation. (Wann LS, Curtis, AB, Ellenbogen KA, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA/HRS Focused update on the management of patients with atrial fibrillation (update on dabigatran). A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation 2011. available at circ.ahajournals.org.