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Debate Continues On, Which Is More Deadly: Warfarin or Pradaxa?

People who are at high risk for stroke are in a difficult situation. Strokes can be deadly, and even when victims survive they often suffer from partial paralysis, speech problems or brain damage. Yet, anti-stroke medications such as warfarin and Pradaxa present potentially fatal side effects of their own. Patients are often left with an incredibly difficult decision: Should they medicate - and if so, which drug is safest?

Medical experts recently warned patients of Pradaxa's propensity for causing brain bleeding, or intracranial hemorrhages. The warning was particularly disconcerting because patients were hoping for a safer alternative to an anticoagulant already in the U.S. market, warfarin - often known by its brand-name, Coumadin. Although a recent study suggests that Pradaxa presents a significantly lower risk of fatal bleeding than its competitor, warfarin, the debate continues on.

Researchers at McMaster University recently scrutinized a study published in the medical journal "Stroke," which studied more than 18,000 patients taking anti-stroke blood thinners. The study found that brain bleeding killed 13 people receiving standard 150 mg doses of Pradaxa; 19 fewer deaths than the 32 experienced by patients taking standard doses of warfarin.

Still, many medical leaders aren't convinced by the study. Some doctors believe that the study's results are tainted by bias; the research was funded by the manufacturer of Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim. Funding concerns aside, a variety of researchers examining the Boehringer study have concluded that it's fundamentally flawed.

While the debate rages on, high-risk stroke patients are left wondering what to do. It's not an easy decision and one that should only be made after consulting with multiple doctors, if possible.

If you or a loved one is the unfortunate victim of an intracranial hemorrhage while taking Pradaxa or Coumadin, it's wise to promptly contact an experienced Michigan medication attorney to discuss your legal options for recovering money damages.

Source:, "Pradaxa brain hemorrhage risk lower than with Warfarin: Study," April 23, 2012

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