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GP output 'hugely underestimated'

The anticoagulant ximelagatran is just as effective as warfarin for preventing stroke and deep vein thrombosis, two major international trials conclude.

Trials on ximelagatran are being closely watched because it does not require close monitoring of dosage and could be a safer alternative to wafarin.

In the SPORTIF V trial, the primary event rates for the two drugs were similar, at 1.6 per cent a year for ximelagatran and 1.2 per cent a year for warfarin. The rate of bleeding was lower with ximelagatran.

In the second trial, venous thromboembolism recurred in 2.1 per cent of patients on ximelagatran and 2.0 per cent of those on a combination of warfarin and enoxaparin.

The US Food and Drug Administration last year refused a licence for ximelagatran because of fears over

liver damage, but there is an application in for an EU-wide licence for stroke prevention.

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