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New pill prevents strokes with less bleeding risk for atrial fib patients


4 Star


New pill prevents strokes with less bleeding risk for atrial fib patients

Our Review Summary

The story did a good job providing information about the study, the potential for benefit and the possible side effects associated with this medication.  Good comparison with coumadin, the effective, though challenging, medication used to treat atrial fib. It also mentioned the newly FDA approved medication Pradaxa for this condition.


Why This Matters

The story ended with a terrific quote indicating that “we’re left with a question of cost versus convenience.” The ending quote goes right to the heart of the issue (pun intended). In reality, there was no signficant difference in outcomes between coumadin and rivaroxaban in the study. If approved, rivaroxaban will presumably be more convenient to use and may end up being less expensive when you include laboratory testing.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story mentioned that the price of rivaroxaban would likely be significantly greater than coumadin.  But it could have been more specific, noting, at least, what Canadians pay for it already.  There coumadin is about 50 cents a day and rivaroxaban is about $9 a day. It wouldn’t have taken long to do that extra research.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story mentioned that the study reported on found rivaroxaban to be equally effective as coumadin in reducing stroke and clot risk.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


This story provided more information about the adverse events from the drug than did other stories we reviewed.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story should have included at least a line about the limitations of drawing conclusions from a talk at a scientific meeting.  It has not been published, has not undergone the kind of peer review a journal would employ, and not all data have been released.  These are important caveats that take only a few words to explain.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The story made a point of calling one expert, Elaine Hylek of Boston University, “an independent expert.”  However, MedPageToday wrote, in their story, that:

“Hylek disclosed research grants from NIH/NINDS, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Ortho-McNeil. She also said she serves on advisory boards at Bayer, Boehringer-Ingleheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Daiichi Sankyo, Genentech, Medtronic, Merck, Pfizer, and sanofi-aventis.”

Perhaps the story should have explained how it defines “independent.”

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The drug reported on was compared with the old standard as well as some discussion about a newly approved medication for AF.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story makes it clear that rivaroxaban is not available in the US and that the companies co-producing the product will seek FDA approval. The story admirably resists the temptation to suggest approval is a foregone conclusion. Readers may have benefited by knowing the drug is approved in other countries including Canada.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story ended with a terrific quote indicating that  “we’re left with a question of cost versus convenience.”  The story also contained information about another drug used in this patient population which was recently FDA approved

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


Does not appear to rely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory


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