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Researchers find safer way to use common but potentially dangerous medication
Date:2/29/2012

rope, and Asia, tracked 1,342 patients on days six through 11 after beginning treatment with warfarin. The team considered factors such as individual body mass index, medication usage, age, gender, and whether or not the patients carried two genes that are known to influence the way warfarin affects the body.

From those data, Dr. Horne and his colleagues were able to create a mathematical model to predict individual patient response to warfarin. The group applied their new algorithm to 342 different patients to validate that it could accurately predict patient response to the drug and help determine more appropriate dosages.

"We discovered that the algorithm is significantly more precise and accurate in identifying the best dose for an individual patient," said Dr. Horne.

He said the body's response to warfarin stabilizes after the second week of treatment, and that the algorithm can determine the safest dose possible for the full course of warfarin treatment. Researchers believe future studies will demonstrate the financial, as well as clinical, benefits of conducting genetic tests needed to perfect the dosing for individual patients.

"This is a very hopeful first step in that direction," said Dr. Horne. "I expect we'll see more studies in the future that show the real effect this tool will have on the lives of patients."

The algorithm is the latest research on genetics and warfarin dosing at Intermountain Medical Center. An earlier project, led by Intermountain Heart Institute cardiologist Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD, examined the effectiveness of genetic testing on warfarin use.

Both group's findings are being used to build a computer tool that works within Intermountain Healthcare's electronic medical record system and that will perform warfarin calculations automatically, thereby increasing patient safety.

"This promises to be a powerful tool to tailor warfarin dosing to each individual patient," sai
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Contact: Jess C. Gomez
jess.gomez@imail.org
801-507-7455
Intermountain Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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