A treatment for atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke, that was tested at Duke University after development by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb receives FDA approval.

The drug is called Eliquis and has proved to reduce the risk of stroke as well as systemic embolism in patents suffering from nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. The companies say the condition is linked to 15 percent of strokes.

Dr. Christopher Granger of Duke University’s Duke Clinical Research Institute, led the clinical tests for the drug.

“With a population that is living longer, the prevalence of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation is increasing, but many patients are still not being managed effectively with warfarin,” Granger said. “Eliquis  represents a significant advance over warfarin for health care professionals to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.”

Eliquis is an anticoagulant. It can be taken with or without food.

The drug is expected to be made available this month.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has a number of operations in the Research Triangle Park area and North Carolina.