VANCOUVER, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - The Stroke Recovery Association of BC welcomes the recent decision by the Province of British Columbia to grant access to Pradax® (dabigatran etexilate) for eligible patients living with atrial fibrillation (AF) for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism.
Atrial fibrillation, which causes the heart to beat irregularly, affects approximately 48,000 British Columbians. People with AF are three to five times more at risk of having a stroke and are twice as likely to die from one.1 But for those who survive a stroke, the disabilities can be significant, including: paralysis; loss of speech and understanding; effects on memory, thought and emotional processes.2
"Many stroke survivors go on to have successful and enjoyable lives. They learn to make the most of the abilities they have," says Tim Readman, Executive Director, Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia. "However, we still need to do everything we can to prevent strokes, which is why having access to medications like Pradax is so important. My biggest concern is the lack of awareness about AF because this means people aren't protecting themselves from potential strokes."
Stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages, and decreased productivity.3 What's more, in the six-month period following a stroke, the direct and indirect health care cost for each patient is about $50,000 and while at least 80 per cent of costs during this same time period are health-system costs, families take on a greater proportion of stroke-related expenses, including those associated with caregiving, transportation and lost income.4
"The effects of a stroke can be physically and financially debilitating; people need to be active participants in their own health, which means being aware of their risk of stroke if they have AF, and taking the necessary precautions to prevent stroke. Access to medications, like dabigatran etexilate, gives British Columbians more choice when working with their doctor to help reduce their risk of stroke," says Dr. Victor Huckell, cardiologist, Vancouver General Hospital.
About Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia
The Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia is committed to assisting stroke survivors and their caregivers throughout British Columbia to promote their independence and improve their overall quality of life. This is done through a variety of community support programs and services, and public education campaigns executed by the thirty-seven regional Stroke Recovery Branches across the province.
1 http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/pp.aspx?c=pvI3IeNWJwE&b=5052981&printmode=1 Accessed March 27, 2012
2 National Institute of Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/poststrokerehab.htm: July 2011. Last accessed March 7, 2012.
3 http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/c.pvI3IeNWJwE/b.3581729/k.359A/Statistics.htm Accessed May 10, 2012
4 Mittmann N, Seung S, Sharma M. Costs of an ischemic stroke patient in Canada: 6 months. Stroke 2010:41(7):e474
For further information:
Stroke Recovery Association of BC