Daiichi Sankyo’s bloodthinner Lixiana has been recommended for National Health Service use to prevent stroke and systemic embolism in people with a certain heart condition.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued a Final Appraisal Determination backing Lixiana (edoxaban) as an option for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

The condition is characterised by an irregular heart beat that can cause blood to pool and thicken in the chambers of the heart - increasing the risk of clots and strokes - and is thought to affect at least 835,000 people in England alone with many more undiagnosed.

Lixiana is a once-daily selective factor Xa-inhibitor belonging to the Novel Oral Anti-Coagulants (NOACs) class of medicines. In clinical trials, the drug was shown to work just as well as veteran anticoagulant warfarin but with the advantage of a superior safety profile.

Professor Martin Cowie, Professor of Cardiology at Imperial College London, said routine availability of Lixiana will give doctors the ability to better tailor medicines to individual patients, as it offers another blood-thinning option that doesn’t require the monitoring necessary with warfarin treatment.

Last month NICE also endorsed the Lixiana’s use on the NHS to treat and prevent recurrence of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.