Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common serious chronic arrhythmia, affecting about 4.5 million people in Europe and 2.2 million people in the United States.(1) Patients with AF are at five times greater risk for stroke compared with the general population.(2) Fifteen percent of all strokes are attributable to AF, and one quarter of all strokes in persons older than 80 years are attributable to AF.(1)
In addition to treatments for heart rate and rhythm, treatment guidelines recommend that AF patients at moderate to high risk of stroke receive anticoagulation therapy with a vitamin K antagonist (VKA), such as warfarin.(1) However, surveys of practice patterns in developed countries demonstrate that 40 percent to 50 percent of patients with AF who are at moderate or high risk for stroke do not receive VKA.(1) The most common reason for not treating AF patients with a VKA appears to be concern about bleeding.(1) Difficulties managing and maintaining therapeutic warfarin dosing, as well as the use of other prescription drugs that interfere with warfarin therapy are additional concerns.(1) Currently, guidelines for the management of patients with AF recommend the use of aspirin for those who cannot take oral anticoagulants.(3)
About the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer Collaboration
In 2007, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a worldwide collaboration to develop and commercialize apixaban, an investigational oral anticoagulant discovered by Bristol-Myers Squibb. This global alliance combines Bristol-Myers Squibb's long-standing strengths in cardiovascular drug development and commercialization with Pfizer's global scale and expertise in this field.
1. J Eikelboom, et al. Rationale and design of AVERROES: Apixaban versus acetylsalicylic acid to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation patients who have failed or are unsuitable for vitamin K antagonist treatment. Am Heart J; 2010;159:348-53.
2. Go AS et al. Prevalence of Diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation in Adults National Implications for Rhythm Management and Stroke Prevention: the AnTicoagulation and Risk Factors In Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) Study. JAMA; 2001;285(18):2370-2375.
3. Fuster et al. ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation; 2006; 114:e257-e354