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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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May 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 3)

Doctors putting lives at risk by ignoring safety guidelines over heart drugs
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Doctors putting lives at risk by ignoring safety guidelines over heart drugs image

Doctors are putting lives at risk by going against safety guidelines and are routinely prescribing an anticoagulant such as warfarin to all patients with irregular heartbeat.

The drugs can cause bleeding complications, and patients with a peptic ulcer, diabetic eye disease or suffered a stroke shouldn't be taking them.

Safety guidelines make these restrictions clear, but new research by the University of Birmingham has discovered that doctors in the UK are ignoring them, and handing out the drugs to all patients with an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation (AF).

Patients who were at risk of life-threatening bleeding were as likely to be given an anticoagulant as patients who weren't at risk, the researchers discovered when they went through records at 645 general practices.

In the UK alone, this means that around 38,000 are at great risk and should stop the medication immediately, they say.


References

(Source: British Journal of General Practice, 2017; bjgp17X691685)

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