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Hardening of the Arteries: Double drug therapy is more dangerous
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

Doctors regularly prescribe aspirin with an anti-coagulant such as warfarin in order to control hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), where plaque builds up around the main artery walls

Doctors regularly prescribe aspirin with an anti-coagulant such as warfarin in order to control hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), where plaque builds up around the main artery walls.

In fact it's the 'gold standard' therapy approved by eminent bodies such as the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association - and it's an approach that is putting the patient's life at risk.

The aspirin on its own is enough to help prevent the build-up of blood clots, and the anti-coagulant merely increases the risk of life-threatening bleeding, new research has found.

The anti-coagulant increased the risk around three times, investigators from the WAVE (Warfarin Antiplatelet Vascular Evaluation) trial report.

They monitored the progress of 2,161 atherosclerosis patients who were given either the combination drug therapy of aspirin plus warfarin, or aspirin on its own.

While rates of death were similar in both groups, those who were also given warfarin were far more likely to suffer life-threatening bleeding during the three years they took the drugs.

(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 357: 217-27).

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