Wrong Dosage of Blood Thinning Medication given to 75 Percent of Patients

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(Best Syndication News) - Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that 75 percent of the patients taking blood thinners were not given the correct dosage. The study investigated 521 patients taking clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient) and found that many had dosage amounts that were not effective. The study results were presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles.

The wrong dosage could be serious either way. Too much medication could cause uncontrolled bleeding, while too little medication puts the patient at an increased risk for developing blood clots. Blood thinning medication is often used as a way to prevent blood clots from forming. These clots can cause strokes and heart attacks.

Brent Muhlestein, MD, cardiologist and cardiac researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said that their study found that not very many patients were in the desirable range.

The researchers conducted a simple blood test to determine whether the patients were getting the correct dosage. They tested to see if the blood was clotting appropriately. Based on the test results, the researchers were able to customize dosage amounts for each patient. Dr Muhlestein added that even though the test is simple, it is not widely used.

If the medication dosage was fine-tuned, it could save on the prescription costs and provide for better outcomes. The medication can cost over $1,800 annually. If the dose requirement was considerably less, it could possibly reduce the medicine cost by half.

However, the study did find that patients taking clopidogrel were typically not getting an optimal level of the medication to prevent clotting. Twenty-five percent of the clopidogrel patients were taking too much of the medication. Only 25 percent of the patients were getting the correct dosage.

Around half of the patients taking prasugrel were getting a high dose, which caused thin blood. Twenty-five percent of the patients taking prasugrel were not getting enough. Only 25 percent of the patients taking prasugrel were getting the correct dosage.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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