Coumadin is a Vitamin K antagonist that thins the blood and has been used for over 70 years to treat blood clots and to prevent strokes. Discovered and perfected by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, it got its name WARFARIN from the Wisconsin (W)….Alumni (A)…..Researcher (R)….Foundation (F)….and has been a staple of medical treatment ever since.
Over the past five years, newer and perhaps better medications have become available to treat blood clots and prevent strokes and these have been called NOACs. Novel (N)……Oral (O)……AntiCoagulants (AC). These include the new medications: Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis.
The exact benefits and risks of these medications are being worked out, in comparison to our old standard Warfarin, but there are two recent developments to note:
First….the NOACS…are now called DOACs…..Direct (D)….Oral (O)……AntiCoagulants (AC). So use this name and you’ll be a hipster.
Second, a recent article in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) reviewed the risk of GI (Gastrointestinal Bleeding) with the DOAC medications and found it to be identical to the risk with Warfarin. This is considered ‘good news’ as there have been concerns that the DOACs have an increased risk of GI bleeding and that this is a consideration for using Warfarin instead, but if they have similar GI bleeding rates, the DOACs will continue to rise in popularity due to ease of use and perhaps superior results.
This is a rapidly evolving area, and we will keep our eyes peeled for more data as it becomes available
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