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Lack of information 'puts warfarin patients at risk'

Lack of information 'puts warfarin patients at risk'
29th October 2008

People taking the blood-thinning medicine warfarin are less likely to experience major problems if they receive more information on how to use the drug, new US research suggests.

Those given written and verbal advice about the proper way to take the medicine are less likely to suffer serious gastrointestinal and brain bleeding problems that may be associated with misuse of the drug, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Scientists who conducted the study have suggested that improved levels of communication between patients and the healthcare profession could reduce the number of hospitalisations.

Lead author Joshua Metlay stated the team do not know what specific mechanism underpins the link between medicine instructions and reduced bleeding risk, but said "it is likely that improved communication about medications leads to increased drug adherence and earlier recognition of medication side effects".

Warfarin is sometimes prescribed as a treatment for deep vein thrombosis, blood clots in the lungs or other parts of the body, or following a transient ischaemic attack, which is sometimes known as a "mini-stroke".

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