Pfizer Relaunches Eliquis to Curb High Prevalence of Stroke



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As a means of combating the frequent occurrence of stroke, which is a major concern and a common cause of death in adult population in Nigeria and other West African countries, Pfizer has relaunched Eliquis, an anticoagulant medication used in treatment and prevention of blood clots in people with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.

With hypertension as the number one heart disease affecting not less than 10 million adults in Nigeria and only about one-third are on effective treatment and the number of diagnoses continues to rise, medical experts have called for a more effective treatment for the prevention of stroke.

They said new treatment strategies are urgently needed to improve the treatment success rate of severe and critically ill patients with cardiovascular diseases.

Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Amam Chinyere Mbakwem, in her keynote speech titled; ‘Unmet needs in stroke prevention for high risk patients with NVAF – Nigeria perspective’, at the Eliquis relaunch, held at Sheraton Hotels Lagos, stated that the apixban drug is to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart of patients with atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism (VTE) and at least one additional risk factor.

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Professor Amam Chinyere Mbakwem

She described VTE as a term referring to blood clots in the veins, which is an 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.

According to her” 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.

“Increasing evidence has shown that 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.

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“However, anticoagulants are 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 to 40 percent. Women start to catch up with men after menopause with about 70 to 80 percent of heart diseases being preventable”.

For the prevention of stroke naturally, she urged Nigerians to control their risk factors for the condition, which are hypertension, diabetes and obesity, while they also do more of exercises and let go of alcohol or cigarettes.

These, she said are the things we can control due to the importance of a healthy lifestyle. However, she admitted there are things humans are born with, but there are a lot of things that can be changed, which will reduce the occurrence of atrial fibrillation.

She further mentioned Universal Health Coverage as one of the unmet needs in strike management, as well as continuous training of medical professionals to be updated on recent trends in healthcare sector.

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Speaking at the relaunch, Olayinka Subair, cluster lead West Africa at Pfizer stated their commitment to health more than 150 years ago and their engagements in the sector as a leader with persistent commitment to health challenges in Nigeria and across the globe.

He said “For more than 150 years globally, Pfizer has been a leader in tackling some of the most persistent healthcare challenges through the breakthrough medicines and vaccines we discover, develop, and bring to market. Our medical breakthroughs change people's lives as we 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”.









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