OTTAWA, April 30, 2012 /CNW/ - The Province of Ontario has taken a major step forward by granting patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) access to Pradax® (dabigatran etexilate) for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism.
"We applaud the province for coming to this decision," says Janet McTaggart, Executive Director of the Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa. "The effects of stroke can be devastating and strokes caused by AF are often the most debilitating. It's encouraging to see that Ontarians with AF now have much broader access to Pradax."
In Ontario there are approximately 100,000 patients living with AF, a common and serious condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly.4 After age 55, the incidence of AF doubles with each decade of life and if not managed properly, can lead to severe and debilitating strokes.1 In fact, people with AF are three to five times more at risk of having a stroke than those without AF, and are twice as likely to die from one.1,2 For those who survive a stroke, the disabilities can be significant and can include: paralysis, loss of speech, effects on memory and thought processes.3
Currently, AF costs the Ontario health care system approximately $700 million annually.4 People with non-disabling strokes spend up to $24,000 during the first six months and the costs for families can increase to over $100,000 for the most severely affected.5 Until today, only Quebec provided patients with AF access to Pradax®.
"Access to an anticoagulant medication like Pradax is key to the prevention of AF-related strokes," adds McTaggart. "We appreciate Ontario moving quickly on this issue and hope they provide similar consideration to other oral anticoagulants as they go through their review processes."
About Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa
Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa (SSAO) provides stroke survivors, their families, caregivers, professionals and the general public with a wide variety of support services, community re-engagement, advocacy, education and other programs. As well, SSAO has connections to many Ottawa and surrounding area stroke supports.
1 Atrial Fibrillation: The Heart of the Matter. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2010.
2 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada 2009 Stroke Report Card.
3 National Institute of Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/poststrokerehab.htm: July 2011. Last accessed April 20, 2012.
4 Centre for Innovation in Complex Care, University Health Network. Reconnecting the Pieces to Optimize Care in Atrial Fibrillation. April, 2011.
5 Mittmann N, Seung SJ, Sharma M, and the BURST study investigators. Impact of disability status on ischaemic stroke costs. Presented at the 2010 International Stroke Congress, Feb 25 2010, San Antonio, TX. Poster P538; Stroke; 41;4:e390.
For further information:
Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa
613-237-0650 (Stroke Line)