November 26, 2012

Warfarin risks examined

Man taking medication Rates of haemorrhage for older patients taking warfarin are higher than rates reported in clinical trials, according to researchers.

The study looked at patients over the age of 66 with atrial fibrillation. The overall risk of haemorrhage over the 13-year study period was 3.8 percent. This is higher than rates previously reported in controlled trials, which have ranged between one and three percent.

It’s important not to stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor

Our Senior Cardiac Nurse, Doireann Maddock, said: “There is a wealth of evidence to support the use of warfarin for people with atrial fibrillation.

“However, people who take warfarin should be monitored closely to make sure their blood does not become too thin. Monitoring blood thinness closely and ensuring this stays within a safe range will reduce the risk of haemorrhage.

“If you are taking warfarin and have any concerns, make sure you speak to your pharmacist or GP. It’s important not to stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor.”

This research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.