A new drug called Praxbind (idarucizumab) has been shown to reverse the blood-thinning effects of Pradaxa (dabigatran) in patients with brain bleeding, according to research presented at the 2016 International Stroke Conference of the American Stroke Association.
Dabigatran is administered to people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, preventing the formation of blood clots in the heart, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Patients using blood thinners who suffer intracranial hemorrhages, a type of bleeding that happens inside the skull, are at high risk of disability or complications. An antibody, idarucizumab binds and neutralizes dabigatran to negate its blood-thinning effects.
The researchers worked with 90 brain hemorrhage patients, including seven women and 11 men, with the average age of 79 years old, in a study called RE-VERSE AD (REVERSal Effects of idarucizumab in patients on Active Dabigatran).
According to their findings, patients given two 2.5-gram infusions of idarucizumab within a 15 minute period showed a 100 percent reversal of dabigatran's blood thinning effects.
These results are part of an ongoing Phase III trial assessing idarucizumab in various patients taking dabigatran and either have dangerous bleeding or require urgent surgery that come with series risks for bleeding.
"Once dabigatran is reversed, we can focus on taking care of the patient without worrying about the blood thinner," said Richard A. Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., the research's lead author.
Idarucizumab received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval back in October 2015, designated as the first drug to reverse dabigatran's blood-thinning effects.
Before idarucizumab was made available, patients using dabigatran in need of emergency surgery were administered purified clotting factors. Unfortunately, these carry the risk of dangerous blood clots forming naturally in the body.
Given the results of the research, more people may be persuaded to use blood thinners as recommended by their doctors. Managing stroke risk in patients is largely problematic because nearly half of them do not use blood thinners at all.
The research received funding support from Boehringer Ingelheim. The company markets Praxbind and Pradaxa.
Other researchers involved include: Thorsten Steiner, M.D., Ph.D., Jerrold Levy, M.D., Jorg Kreuzer, M.D., Pieter Kamphuisen, M.D., Ph.D., Menno Huisman, M.D., Ph.D., John Eikelboom, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., Paul Reilly, Ph.D., Jeffrey Weitz, M.D. and Charles Pollack Jr., M.D.
Photo: J.E. Theriot | Flickr