The Rx That Could Prevent Countless Strokes

Anticoagulant medications may help prevent strokes in patients with AFib

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Many patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) may not be receiving medications that could help keep them from having a stroke, a new study found.

AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat that raises patients' risk of having a stroke. And the authors of this new study said as many as 4 in 10 patients with AFib were not receiving stroke-prevention medications.

That could mean that hundreds of thousands of strokes that occur each year are preventable, according to this study.

The study authors pointed out that blood-thinning medications called oral anticoagulants could greatly reduce stroke risk in patients who have AFib. And more recent research has found that another type of blood-thinning medication called direct oral anticoagulants could reduce stroke risk just as much or even more.

But many patients with AFib were not being prescribed these medications. And those who were taking them often received a dose that was lower than recommended.

The study authors looked at around 655,000 patients with AFib in a national database. They found that prescriptions of oral anticoagulants only increased slightly over a seven-year period — despite research that highlighted the potential stroke-preventing benefits of these medications.

Talk to your health care provider about how to lower your stroke risk.

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The American College of Cardiology’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry supported this research. Study authors disclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies and health agencies.

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Review Date: 
May 23, 2017