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Easy-to-use blood thinners likely to replace Coumadin
Date:2/6/2012

ing an application to approve apixaban for the same use.

Coumadin must be carefully monitored. If the dose is too high, a patient could experience excessive bruising and be at higher risk for brain hemorrhages. If the dose is too low, the drug would be ineffective in preventing blood clots. Patients typically must come in at least once a month for a blood test to determine whether the dose needs to be adjusted. Some patients have to come in as often as twice a week.

Coumadin patients also must restrict their diets. For example, they should consume only small amounts of cranberry juice and alcohol and not eat large amounts of foods that are rich in vitamin K, such as spinach, brussels sprouts and green tea.

Disadvantages of the new medications include the limited clinical experience and lack of antidotes, the researchers wrote. The newer drugs are more expensive than Coumadin, but reduce the cost of patient monitoring and blood testing, Morales said.

Dabigatran is an effective alternative to Coumadin for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Rivaroxaban is another promising alternative for those patients. Apixaban appears to be better than aspirin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients who are not candidates for Coumadin therapy, Morales and colleagues wrote.

The authors predict that within the next few years, the new drugs will likely replace Coumadin for long-term anticoagulation in selective patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.


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Contact: Jim Ritter
jritter@lumc.edu
708-216-2445
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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