Updated on 25 November 2013
Good news for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) - Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's apixaban stroke drug gets Singapore's Health Sciences Authority approval
Singapore: Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore has approved new treatment, apixaban (Eliquis), marketed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), to reduce the risk of a first or recurrent stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF).
Apixaban is an oral anticoagulant that has demonstrated superior risk reduction versus warfarin in the three important outcomes of stroke and systemic embolism, major bleeding, and all-cause death.
Atrial fibrillation (AF), which is an abnormal heart rhythm, poses a large threat to Singapore's ageing population as it increases the risk of stroke by almost five times when compared with a normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm). Local statistics show that AF afflicts as many as one-in-20 people over the age of 65, while the lifetime risk of developing AF is estimated to be approximately 25 percent for individuals 40 years of age or older.
AF related strokes tend to be more severe than other strokes with an associated 30-day mortality of 24 percent and a 50 percent likelihood of death within one year.
"AF-related strokes can leave their victims disabled and dependent," explained Dr Deidre Anne De Silva, president, Singapore National Stroke Association and a consultant with the Department of Neurology at the National Neuroscience Institute (SGH campus). "Survivors of AF-related strokes may have to live with long-term physical, cognitive, psychological and social consequences which impact not just the patients, but also their families and caregivers," she said. AF is associated with at least 15 percent of all strokes.