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Better instructions reduce complications among patients using common blood thinner
Date:10/27/2008

re Cost Containment Council, the researchers identified hospitalizations that were tied to warfarin-related bleeding events among the patients in the study.

The findings also indicate that the way patients receive instruction about their medicine matters. Compared to receiving no instructions beyond those printed on the prescription bottle, patients who said they had been given written information or written information plus verbal instructions were less apt to suffer bleeding events. Reports of verbal instruction alone, however, were not associated with a decreased risk of bleeding problems compared to patients who received no instructions. The Penn researchers say the findings underscore previous studies showing that thorough, honest communication between health care providers and patients is an important contributor to compliance with recommended therapies.

Since only 55 percent of participants in the study reported receiving any type of medication instructions from a doctor or nurse, Metlay and his colleagues say the impact on bleeding events among warfarin users could be slashed further if similar communication models were adopted more widely by physicians and pharmacists. New regulations requiring that all patients filling warfarin prescriptions receive a Medication Guide could help, and since pharmacists are now able to be reimbursed for time spent providing medication counseling to Medicare recipients, the authors are hopeful more patients will get helpful information about this drug.

The new research may also have implications for the broader health care community. While warfarin is one of the highest risk drugs routinely used in ambulatory care, these findings point to ways to improve provider-patient communication in ways that would better drug adherence and patient safety for many other medications and chronic medical conditions.

"It is time that we recognize that patients and their caregivers bear a substantial burde
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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