* Dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa) has been approved to lower the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.
* In clinical trials, patients taking dabigatran had fewer ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes than patients taking warfarin.
* As with other anticoagulants, dabigatran may cause serious, even fatal, bleeding.
Diane S. Aschenbrenner is the course coordinator for undergraduate pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. She also coordinates Drug Watch: email@example.com.