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Study: New blood thinner works as well as Coumadin


4 Star


Study: New blood thinner works as well as Coumadin

Our Review Summary

The story is based on a preliminary report presented at a scientific meeting. The results of the study in question have not been analyzed completely and have not been subjected to peer review. Although the study results appear to be good news, we really won’t know until the entire study is published.


Why This Matters

Sometimes journalists on deadline at a scientific conference with hundreds and hundreds of papers being presented may forget to remind readers that there are limitations to the conclusions that can be drawn from talks presented at meetings because they have not been published, the full data have not been released, and the work has not undergone the kind of full review that a journal would employ before publishing. These are all important caveats


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story provides some information on the cost of Coumadin and the recently approved Pradaxa. Although the price for Xarelto has not been set in the US, a quick check of the price in Canadian pharmacies could have been done easily. The cost to the consumer in Canada is about $9 a day as compared to about $0.50 a day for brand name Coumadin. (It took us seconds to find this online.)

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


The story notes that rivaroxaban appeared to reduce the risk of stroke as well as did warfarin.

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

Not Satisfactory

While mentioning several harms that were not observed in this study of rivaroxaban reported on, the story neglected to inform us about any specific harms that were observed during the study of this drug.

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

Not Satisfactory

Although providing readers with the actual data comparing the risk of stroke or blood clot for coumadin and rivaroxaban, the story did not point out that the results of the study were presented at a meeting and have not yet been peer-reviewed. The important take-home message is that there are limitations about the conclusions that can be drawn from such meeting presentations.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.

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


The story quotes unaffiliated experts without apparent links to the company who provided useful information for readers.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story compared the new medication, rivaroxaban, with coumadin.  It mentioned another blood thinner, Praddax, which has already won approval by the FDA.

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


The story accurately indicated that rivaroxaban is currently not available in the US but is already in use in other countries.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story was clear about this being a second new drug that may be a suitable substitute for coumadin for certain people in certain situations.

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


The story did not rely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory


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