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Barriers in Access to Idarucizumab in Ischemic Stroke in a Middle-Income Country.

Neurohospitalist 2024 January
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Current stroke guidelines contraindicate the use of thrombolytics if oral anticoagulants are taken within 48 hours of symptom onset. Idarucizumab is an alternative for patients on dabigatran who experience an acute stroke, so that alteplase may be used. However, this treatment may not be readily available in low/middle-income countries. Our objective is to describe barriers to access to the administration of idarucizumab.

METHODS: We applied a structured survey for health personnel, consulted databases of drug providers, and analyzed reports from the National Pharmacologic Surveillance Data to describe idarucizumab use and the related knowledge among prescribers and the drug distribution in health institutions in Colombia between January 2018 and January 2022.

RESULTS: In total, 23.6% of the 337 interviewed physicians' hospitals had access to idarucizumab, and 34.9% of the physicians were unaware of the use of this medication for ischemic stroke. Only 11 private institutions had access to this medication in Colombia. Four male patients with atrial fibrillation received thrombolytics for acute stroke, and two required subsequent mechanical thrombectomy. No fatal complications during hospitalization were observed. Complications included hematuria, hemorrhagic transformation and groin hematoma. None required transfusion or further intervention. All had favorable mRS scores at the 90-day follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: There are multiple barriers to access idarucizumab in Colombia. The main factors identified are the low medication availability in provincial hospitals and the low medical knowledge. However clinical results in this limited group are satisfactory. Stronger public policies are needed to guarantee optimal stroke treatment in patients on DOACs in Colombia.

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