Doctors May Prescribe Safer Blood-Thinning Drugs for Patients with Irregular Heartbeat
Neurologists at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have found that certain new blood-thinning drugs could represent a major improvement over warfarin, a blood thinner that is often used by doctors to significantly reduce stroke risk when a patient has atrial fibrillation. The study was recently published in Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal that provides information on current and emerging treatment options.
For patients with atrial fibrillation, a common type of arrhythmia that leads to irregular heartbeat, strokes are a very serious concern because blood clots can form from the heart. Blood thinners may help to decrease the risks associated with atrial fibrillation.
However, there are potential health risks for individuals who use blood thinners. When the blood becomes too thin, the patient’s life can be put in jeopardy by bleeding into the brain, which could cause hemorrhagic strokes.
That’s why anyone who uses warfarin, or any other blood thinner, has typically needed to be continuously monitored to make sure that their blood does not thin too much. Additionally, certain dietary restrictions may be needed to ensure that the patient’s blood does not get too thin after using warfarin.
The new blood-thinning drugs, which include apixaban, edoxaban, dabigatran and rivaroxaban, may help to solve these issues. The researchers behind the recent study found that these new drugs can be just as effective as warfarin while presenting fewer health risks. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the newer drugs make bleeding into the brain less likely than older blood-thinning drugs like warfarin. Additionally, the newer drugs work more rapidly than warfarin, making it less important for patients to undergo constant monitoring for adverse reactions.
However, these new blood-thinning drugs do pose their own health risks. Medical experts have said that doctors who prescribe blood-thinning medication, whether it’s warfarin or some other type of blood thinner, still need to take into account other important health factors, such as the patient’s age, kidney function and diet. When a doctor fails to properly diagnose a medical condition or negligently prescribes medication, they may expose themselves, and their hospital’s insurance company, to liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
To learn more, view the UPI.com article, “New Blood Thinning Drugs Safer for Reducing Atrial Fibrillation.”
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