It is necessary to take drugs that will prevent the formation of blood clots in the chambers of the heart – anticoagulants. Taking a blood thinner such as warfarin reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Many patients do not like to take warfarin and often stop taking it on their own, thereby increasing the risk of stroke. Here are some reasons for discontinuing the drug:
When using warfarin, measurement of the International Normalized Ratio (INR) is necessary. Tests are needed to make sure that the patient is taking the correct dose of the drug and that the drug is doing enough.
While taking warfarin, you need to limit your intake of certain foods that contain vitamin K.
The risk of bleeding is significantly higher with warfarin.
Some patients cannot tolerate warfarin or have difficulty maintaining a normal INR.
Newer anticoagulants are available for patients with atrial fibrillation and do not require an INR measurement, which simplifies long-term use. These medicines are dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis). However, some patients have problems with these drugs, such as:
- Anticoagulant intolerance.
- The high cost of drugs;
- These drugs also increase the risk of bleeding.