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FDA Approves New DVT Treatment

By Shelley Wood
Medscape Medical News

Aug. 21, 2014 -- The FDA has approved the use of the anti-clotting drug apixaban (Eliquis) to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). 

DVTs refer to blood clots that form most often in the deep veins of  the legs. If one of the blood clots breaks loose and travels up bloodstream, it can block blood flow in the lung, also known as a PE, which can be life-threatening.

Apixaban is also now approved to lower the risk of DVT and PE returning in people who've already had one.

The FDA posted a copy of an Aug. 19 letter to drugmaker Bristol-Myers, announcing its decision. Apixaban was already approved for use in lowering the risks of stroke and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem and to prevent DVT and PE in people who've had hip- or knee-replacement surgery.

Last month the European Commission granted a similar extension of apixaban in countries where drug policies are covered by the European Medicines Agency.

Other blood thinners, including rivaroxaban (Xarelto)and dabigatran (Pradaxa), are also FDA-approved for the treatment of DVT and PE and the prevention of DVT or PE's return.

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