Warfarin underused in some patients: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with atrial fibrillation — the most common type of heart arrhythmia — who suffer a stroke and are candidates for potentially life-saving anti-clotting therapy with warfarin are not prescribed the drug or are not prescribed enough of it, a study suggests.

“These findings should encourage greater efforts to prescribe and monitor appropriate antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in individuals with atrial fibrillation,” study chief Dr. David J. Gladstone, from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, and his colleagues emphasize.

Warfarin, also known by the trade name Coumadin, can reduce the risk of stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots, which often occur in patients with atrial fibrillation. The clot may detach from the wall of the blood vessel and become lodged in the brain, blocking the flow of blood and causing a stroke.

As reported in the January issue of the journal Stroke, Gladstone’s team examined warfarin use in atrial fibrillation patients by analyzing data from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network, a database of consecutive stroke patients seen at 12 centers in Ontario from 2003 to 2007.

Included in the study were 597 patients with atrial fibrillation and a first stroke and 323 with a prior stroke or mini-stroke.

In the first-time stroke group, 60 percent of strokes were disabling and 20 percent were fatal. Just 10 percent of patients had optimal or “therapeutic” levels of warfarin at the time of stroke.

Twenty-nine percent of patients had warfarin at suboptimal or “subtherapeutic” levels. Single anti-clogging therapy was used in 29 percent of patients, dual anti-clotting therapy in 2 percent, and no anti-clotting drugs in 29 percent.

In the prior stroke group, only 18 percent of patients had therapeutic warfarin levels at the time of their current stroke and 39 percent had subtherapeutic warfarin. Single anti-clotting therapy was used in 25 percent of patients, dual therapy in 3 percent, and no anti-clotting drugs in 15 percent.

In a related editorial, Dr. John Worthington from Liverpool Health Service, NSW, Australia, and colleagues point out that “too often and for too long we have overstated the inconvenience of warfarin and exaggerated its risks, ignoring convincing evidence of its effectiveness in practice.”

The current study “reminds us of the perils of discounting the benefits of warfarin.”

SOURCE: Stroke, January 2009.

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women who consume more than two alcoholic drinks a day have a higher risk of getting the most common type of heart rhythm disturbance, which can raise the chances of having a stroke, researchers said on Tuesday. Previous research had shown that men who drink three or more alcoholic beverages daily

Full Post: Heart rhythm risk seen in women’s alcohol drinking
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Michael Kahn LONDON (Reuters) - Taking the Wyeth heart drug Cordarone for shorter periods of time did little to ease side effects and left patients with a higher risk of premature death than those taking it for long periods, Dutch researchers said on Tuesday. Long-term use of the drug known generically as amiodarone is common for

Full Post: Taking Cordarone for short time not an option
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Offering yet another reason to never start smoking, a new study finds that both current and former smokers run an elevated risk of the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation. The condition, also known as AF, is the most common heart arrhythmia in the U.S., affecting about 2 million people.

Full Post: Smoking ups risk of common heart rhythm problem
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Bill Berkrot and Ransdell Pierson NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Sanofi-Aventis’s experimental drug Multaq significantly reduced the incidence of hospitalization and length of hospital stays in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to a new analysis of a previously reported study, researchers said on Tuesday. Multaq, known chemically as dronedarone, cut the total number of hospital days by

Full Post: Sanofi’s Multaq reduces hospitalization: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - While the incidence of stroke as a complication of heart attack has decreased since the late 1990s, death during hospitalization in affected patients has not shown a corresponding decrease, new data suggest. “Although contemporary therapies may be reducing the risk of stroke in patients with (heart attack), more attention should be

Full Post: Cases of stroke complicating heart attack down

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search