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St. Michael’s cardiologist involved in trial for oral anticoagulant for stroke prevention in people with atrial fibrillation

Toronto, December 24, 2012

By Leslie Shepherd

Dr. Paul Dorian
Dr. Paul Dorian

St. Michael’s cardiologist Dr. Paul Dorian was a member of the international steering committee that led clinical trials for the oral anticoagulant apixaban, recently approved by Health Canada for the prevention of strokes in people with atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation, or AF, is the most common kind of irregular heart beat or cardiac arrhythmia. Patients with AF are up to seven times more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

Dr. Dorian was also the Canadian principal investigator for the ARISTOTLE (Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation) trial for the drug.

Health Canada’s approval follows European regulatory approval in November. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked the drug manufacturers for more information on data management and verification in the ARISTOTLE trial. However, a recent American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific advisory includes apixaban as one the drugs recommended to prevent strokes in people with AF.

As a class, new oral anticoagulants are also recommended by Canadian Cardiovascular Society clinical practice guidelines as preferable to warfarin, a drug commonly used to treat blood clots.

Apixaban, sold under the trade name Eliquis, was already approved for use in Canada and the European Union for the prevention of blood clots that form in veins in patients undergoing elective hip or knee replacement.

“AF places people at an increased risk of stroke,” Dr. Dorian said. “Yet despite available treatment options, many patients remain inadequately managed or untreated. New oral anticoagulants are now the first recommended options for most patients for stroke prevention in Canada, and by making new therapies like Eliquis available, the goal is to reduce the burden of this disease."

Apixaban was developed in a joint venture by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Dorian has served as a consultant to both.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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