A few days ago, I was watching my favorite network, “The Food Network” and I saw an amazing commercial that was both educational and frightening. What I observed was a commercial for a drug called Xarelto. The drug is purported to be a suitable pharmaceutical treatment used to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation that is not caused by a heart valve problem. My concern is the commercial sounded more like an infomercial, designed to entice those patients that are currently taking Warfarin. The reality is that there is a limited amount of information on how Xarelto compares to warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke. Xarelto is also used to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It has been found helpful in the prevention of future occurrences of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. An additional indication for its use is a reduction of the risk of clot formation in the legs and lungs of patients that have recently had hip or knee replacement surgery.
After having seen the commercial a few times, I realized that commercial advertisement of this drug is designed for two purposes: the first is to educate consumers that are currently taking Warfarin that a suitable replacement may be suitable for them. A second purpose is begin the grass-roots level of education that must occur as a new drug is being introduced and prescribed.
My concern is that as dental providers we must remain abreast of introduction of new medications that may affect our dental treatment. It remains our responsibility to be knowledgable in the uses, indications and contra-indications of this drug. It should also be understood that new drugs are continuously introduced that will affect our dental treatment.
Please take a look at the prescribing information for Xarelto. To stay abreast of constantly changing medications, consider the addition of an app like Micro-Medix or Medscape. They are both free and can be downloaded to your smart phone, iPad, tablet and P.C. I consider both of these as wonderful resources, each has benefits and disadvantages, but they are wonderful adjuncts.