University of Oxford – Patients who monitor their own treatment with warfarin or other blood-thinning drugs reduce their risk of developing blood clots by half, an Oxford University study has found.
Taking charge of their own treatment can empower patients, improve the quality of treatment and be more convenient. The researchers say their findings confirm that self-monitoring of warfarin is safe for suitable patients of all ages.
The results are published in the medical journal The Lancet.
‘Warfarin is used for a number of conditions to prevent the blood clotting,’ explains Dr Carl Heneghan, who led the work at the Department of Primary Health Care at Oxford University. ‘These conditions include atrial fibrillation, treatment of deep-vein thrombosis and patients with artificial heart valves.’
In the UK, it is thought that around 1 million people are eligible for blood-thinning drugs, or anticoagulants, with demand set to rise further due to the ageing population.
But the use of anticoagulants needs regular monitoring to make sure the dose remains within the right range.