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Green light for drug trialled in Barnsley

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Sunday 3rd February 2013
Consultant stroke physician Mr Mo Albazzaz and Sister Kate Gamble.

A life-saving drug to help prevent stroke is now available to patients as a result of a study which Barnsley Hospital took part in.


The five year national study involved up to 30 patients who were treated at Barnsley by consultant stroke physician Dr Mo Albazzaz and saw some of them being given the new drug, Eliquis (Axixaban) and others taking warfarin to thin their blood.


They were monitored by Sister Kate Gamble and the results of the different drugs were then compared and analysed, which showed the risk of stroke could be reduced by up to 75 per cent by taking Eliquis.


As a result it has now been approved by the European Medicines Agency.


The patients suffered from a range of problems, including high blood pressuem heart problems and diabetes, all of which carry a risk of stroke.


Dr Albazzaz said: "If these patients were given Eliquis, the risk would be reduced by a significant rate, between 50 and 75 per cent.


"Part of the trial was over a five year period and when the drug becomes available, patients should take it instead of warfarin."


He said elderly patients were reluctant to take warfarin, also used to treat stroke risk, because they need regular blood checks and because of complications including excess bleeding.


He said now the study was complete, the results would be sent to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and drug regulatory authorities, which will approve the drug.


"They have what they call preliminary approval, but there are different stages for NICE to approve a drug," he said.


Dr Albazzaz said there could be a public or professional consutlation for anyone who wanted to make objections, but added: "The result is very encouraging. It should be made available because it is more convenient for patients. There is more acceptance to take it and no need for regular blood tests and no complications."