NICE recommends dabigatran etexilate as a possible treatment to prevent stroke and systemic embolism in people with atrial fibrillation.

Who can have dabigatran etexilate?

You should be able to have dabigatran etexilate if you have a type of atrial fibrillation known as nonvalvular and at least one of the following applies:

  • you have had a stroke, transient ischaemic attack (mini stroke) or embolism in the past
  • your heart pumps less blood around your body than normal
  • you have symptoms of heart failure of New York Heart Association class 2 or above (mild shortness of breath and/or chest pain, and slight limitation during ordinary activity)
  • you are 75 or older
  • you are 65 or older and have diabetes, coronary artery disease or high blood pressure.

Why has NICE said this?

NICE looks at how well treatments work, and also at how well they work in relation to how much they cost the NHS. NICE recommends dabigatran etexilate because its cost is justified by the benefits it provides compared with other treatments available on the NHS.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.

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