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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Pradaxa, a drug developed by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp. to lower the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with irregular heartbeats.

The Ridgefield, Conn.-based pharmaceutical firm reported a 35 percent reduction in stroke and systemic embolism in patients taking Pradaxa twice daily in 150 mg dosages. The dosage is in addition to patients’ current use of warfarin, the existing treatment for non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFiB) that was approved in the 1950s and, under names such as coumadin, has served as the only U.S.-available oral anticoagulant.

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