Anti-Clotting Drug Approved by FDA

Eliquis, the anti-clotting drug by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer was approved on Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approval had been long anticipated by many cardiologists and is considered the next blockbuster for Bristol-Myers, which will be in charge of manufacturing the new drug, while Pfizer will market the new drug.

The drug was approved by the U.S. regulatory agency for use in lowering the risk of stroke and blood clots in those who have arterial fibrillation, an arrhythmia in the heart that afflicts millions throughout the U.S.

The drug, which is also known by the name apixaban, is the third medicine of its kind for anti-clotting to be approved recently. Now the companies will market aggressively their product as the best alternative to the longstanding drug warfarin, which has been available for a sometime but requires intense monitoring. Warfarin is known as Coumadin.

Some medical experts said the new drug offered the best overall benefits versus risks, of any of its competitors. However, since no clinical trials have been completed that compare the different drugs, there is no way to make a distinction between the three to which one is the preferred, said one cardiologist.

On Friday, a joint statement was released by Bristol-Myers and Pfizer that said the two were pleased with the approval given their drug by the FDA. The drug had been approved in November by the European regulator agency for use across that continent.

Eliquis and its other competitors have great promise, but medical experts have cautioned doctors not to prescribe the drug too enthusiastically.