Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Blood Thinners May Be Able to Replace Warfarin

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Blood Thinners May Be Able to Replace Warfarin

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: I have atrial fibrillation. For years I took warfarin. Last year I switched to Pradaxa. Now I hear Pradaxa may not be as safe as my doctor said. What can you tell me about this?

Dear Reader: For decades, the best way to prevent stroke from atrial fibrillation was by taking a blood thinner called warfarin.

In recent years, a group of new blood thinners have become available in the United States. One is dabigatran (Pradaxa).

While there are some contradictory study results published, here is my reading of the current evidence on the drugs compared to warfarin. The new drugs:

- have similar or lower risk of complications from blood clots, such as ischemic strokes;

- have lower rates of major bleeding;

- have lower rates of death;

- are less likely to be affected by what you eat, or to have negative interactions with other medicines that you take.

On the other hand, the new drugs:

- haven't been tested for as many years, on as many people, and may therefore have risks that are not yet apparent;

- require taking a pill twice a day;

- need dose adjustments in people with chronic kidney disease;

- don't have a rapid antidote if they should cause major bleeding. …

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