Pfizer has relaunched Eliquis, an anticoagulant to prevent the gradual increase in the prevalence of stroke due to heart condition called atrial fibrillation which is a major concern being a common cause of death among adults.
With hypertension as the number one heart disease affecting about 10 million adults in Nigeria and only about one-third are on effective treatment, there is need for effective treatment, experts say.
New treatment strategies are urgently needed to improve the treatment success rate of severe and critically ill patients.
Speaking at the relaunch, Olayinka Subair, cluster lead West Africa at Pfizer stated that for more than 150 years, Pfizer has been a leader in tackling some of the most persistent healthcare challenges through the breakthrough medicines and vaccines.
According to Subair, Pfizer’s medical breakthroughs change people’s lives as it focus on the areas of greatest need, tackling the diseases that present the biggest challenge across countries and regions.
“While advocacy on the management of heart conditions like atrial fibrillation and blood glucose level are gaining ground, there is still a lot to be done to create necessary awareness among patients and practitioners because knowledge and experience have shown that complications from heart conditions are preventable and reversible when identified early,” he said.
Amam Chinyere Mbakwem, a professor of Medicine, Consultant physician and Cardiologist College of Medicine, University of Lagos while delivering the keynote address titled ‘Unmet Needs in Stroke Prevention for High Risk Patients with NVAF – Nigeria Perspective,’ said that Eliquis was an anticoagulant used in adults to prevent a blood clot from forming in the heart in patients with an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), venous thromboembolism (VTE) and at least one additional risk factor.
According to her, “Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term referring to blood clots in the veins; it is underdiagnosed and serious, yet preventable medical condition that can cause disability and death.
“Blood clots may break off and travel to the brain and lead to a stroke or to other organs and prevent normal blood flow to that organ (also known as a systemic embolism).
“A stroke can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Anticoagulants or Blood thinner are medicines that prevent blood clots from forming. They do not break up clots that you already have. But they can stop those clots from getting bigger.
“It’s important to treat blood clots, because clots in your blood vessels and heart can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blockages. People with certain heart or blood vessel diseases, an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, heart valve replacement, a risk of blood clots after surgery, congenital heart defects are those who need anticoagulants.”
Explaining further, Mbakwem said while a blood clot (the seal created by the blood to stop bleeding from wounds) are useful in stopping bleeding, they can block blood vessels and stop blood flowing to organs such as the brain, heart, or lungs if they form in the wrong place.
“Increasing evidence has shown that anticoagulants or blood thinner medicines play an important role in the progression of preventing blood clots from forming.
“An abnormal heartbeat is associated with considerable morbidity, including an increased risk of cognitive impairment, a three-fold increase in the risk of heart failure, and a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke.
“However, anticoagulants reduce the risks of stroke and prevent heart attacks. This is prescribed for people at a high risk of getting clots, to reduce their chances of developing serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.
“In Nigeria and most of the world this is still more male-dominated than female with a ratio of about 60 –40 percent. Women start to catch up with men after menopause with about 70-80 percent of heart diseases being preventable,” she said.