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      Oral Anticoagulants: Mechanism of Action, Clinical Effectiveness, and Optimal Therapeutic Range

      , , , , , ,
      Chest
      American College of Chest Physicians

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          Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Study. Final results.

          R McBride (1991)
          Atrial fibrillation in the absence of rheumatic valvular disease is associated with a fivefold to sevenfold increased risk of ischemic stroke. The Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Study, a multicenter, randomized trial, compared 325 mg/day aspirin (double-blind) or warfarin with placebo for prevention of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism (primary events), and included 1,330 inpatients and outpatients with constant or intermittent atrial fibrillation. During a mean follow-up of 1.3 years, the rate of primary events in patients assigned to placebo was 6.3% per year and was reduced by 42% in those assigned to aspirin (3.6% per year; p = 0.02; 95% confidence interval, 9-63%). In the subgroup of warfarin-eligible patients (most less than 76 years old), warfarin dose-adjusted to prolong prothrombin time to 1.3-fold to 1.8-fold that of control reduced the risk of primary events by 67% (warfarin versus placebo, 2.3% versus 7.4% per year; p = 0.01; 95% confidence interval, 27-85%). Primary events or death were reduced 58% (p = 0.01) by warfarin and 32% (p = 0.02) by aspirin. The risk of significant bleeding was 1.5%, 1.4%, and 1.6% per year in patients assigned to warfarin, aspirin, and placebo, respectively. Aspirin and warfarin are both effective in reducing ischemic stroke and systemic embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation. Because warfarin-eligible patients composed a subset of all aspirin-eligible patients, the magnitude of reduction in events by warfarin versus aspirin cannot be compared. Too few events occurred in warfarin-eligible patients to directly assess the relative benefit of aspirin compared with warfarin, and the trial is continuing to address this issue. Patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation who can safely take either aspirin or warfarin should receive prophylactic antithrombotic therapy to reduce the risk of stroke.
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            Association of polymorphisms in the cytochrome P450 CYP2C9 with warfarin dose requirement and risk of bleeding complications.

            The cytochrome P450 CYP2C9 is responsible for the metabolism of S-warfarin. Two known allelic variants CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 differ from the wild type CYP2C9*1 by a single aminoacid substitution in each case. The allelic variants are associated with impaired hydroxylation of S-warfarin in in-vitro expression systems. We have studied the effect of CYP2C9 polymorphism on the in-vivo warfarin dose requirement. Patients with a daily warfarin dose requirement of 1.5 mg or less (low-dose group, n=36), randomly selected patients with a wide range of dose requirements from an anticoagulant clinic in north-east England (clinic control group, n=52), and 100 healthy controls from the community in the same region were studied. Genotyping for the CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 alleles was done by PCR analysis. Case notes were reviewed to assess the difficulties encountered during the induction of warfarin therapy and bleeding complications in the low-dose and clinic control groups. The odds ratio for individuals with a low warfarin dose requirement having one or more CYP2C9 variant alleles compared with the normal population was 6.21 (95% CI 2.48-15.6). Patients in the low-dose group were more likely to have difficulties at the time of induction of warfarin therapy (5.97 [2.26-15.82]) and have increased risk of major bleeding complications (rate ratio 3.68 [1.43-9.50]) when compared with randomly selected clinic controls. We have shown that there is a strong association between CYP2C9 variant alleles and low warfarin dose requirement. CYP2C9 genotyping may identify a subgroup of patients who have difficulty at induction of warfarin therapy and are potentially at a higher risk of bleeding complications.
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              The effect of low-dose warfarin on the risk of stroke in patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation. The Boston Area Anticoagulation Trial for Atrial Fibrillation Investigators.

              Nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke, presumably from atrial thromboemboli. There is uncertainty about the efficacy and risks of long-term warfarin therapy to prevent stroke. We conducted an unblinded, randomized, controlled trial of long-term, low-dose warfarin therapy (target prothrombin-time ratio, 1.2 to 1.5) in patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation. The control group was not given warfarin but could choose to take aspirin. A total of 420 patients entered the trial (212 in the warfarin group and 208 in the control group) and were followed for an average of 2.2 years. Prothrombin times in the warfarin group were in the target range 83 percent of the time. Only 10 percent of the patients assigned to receive warfarin discontinued the drug permanently. There were 2 strokes in the warfarin group (incidence, 0.41 percent per year) as compared with 13 strokes in the control group (incidence, 2.98 percent per year), for a reduction of 86 percent in the risk of stroke (warfarin:control incidence ratio = 0.14; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.04 to 0.49; P = 0.0022). There were 37 deaths altogether. The death rate was markedly lower in the warfarin group than in the control group: 2.25 percent as compared with 5.97 percent per year, for an incidence ratio of 0.38 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.17 to 0.82; P = 0.005). There was one fatal hemorrhage in each group. The frequency of bleeding events that led to hospitalization or transfusion was essentially the same in both groups. The warfarin group had a higher rate of minor hemorrhage than the control group (38 vs. 21 patients). Long-term low-dose warfarin therapy is highly effective in preventing stroke in patients with non-rheumatic atrial fibrillation, and can be quite safe with careful monitoring.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Chest
                Chest
                American College of Chest Physicians
                00123692
                January 2001
                January 2001
                : 119
                : 1
                : 8S-21S
                Article
                10.1378/chest.119.1_suppl.8S
                11157640
                4f677064-003d-4c0a-8ffc-283d8b53f279
                © 2001

                http://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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