Have you been using Warfarin?
Warfarin has been used to prevent potentially life-threatening blood clots for more than half a century.
But a new study by Dr T. Jared Bunch and a team of researchers at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, UT has revealed that individuals using warfarin for Atrial fibrillation (AF) on a long-term basis had increased rates of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s when compared with Warfarin users with conditions other than AF.
AF refers to an irregular, often abnormally fast, heartbeat and can cause a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness, and tiredness.
The research initially lacked evidence when it presented at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 37th Annual Scientific Sessions, using data from more than 10,000 patients to investigate links between Warfarin, dementia, and AF.
But after seven years, the team followed up with the group and found that dementia was more prevalent in the AF group than the non-AF group, 5.8 per cent compared with 1.6 per cent, when none of the groups had any history of dementia.
AF is known to enhance the risk of developing dementia but blood thinners used to ease AF symptoms are also said to increase the likelihood of brain bleeds that can, over time, have a negative impact on brain function.
According to Medical News Today, the problem with Warfarin is administering it at the correct levels — “A tightrope has to be walked between the risks of clotting on one side and bleeding on the other”.
Different patients responds differently to Warfarin, and its actions in the body take time to develop, so finding the right dosage can be a long process.
Worse Warfarin management might increase the chances of developing dementia in AF patients and the current research also back up these earlier findings.
In summary, the researchers showed that the risk of dementia still increased whether Warfarin levels were too high, too low, or at the right dosage.
Do you take Warfarin? Has your doctor told you about any side effects?