New data shows that one in three patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who are at high risk for stroke are not being prescribed anticoagulant therapy, particularly vitamin K antagonists (VKA) – medicines known to significantly lower stroke risk.
The findings are from the first cohort of the GARFIELD (Global Anticoagulant Registry in the Field) – a research initiative being conducted by the Thrombosis Research Institute (TRI) to understand the global burden of AF.
The first analysis of cohort one included 9,288 patients newly-diagnosed with AF and with at least one additional risk factor for stroke from 19 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Asia Pacific. Of these patients, 81% had a high risk for stroke.
“We know that atrial fibrillation carries a significant stroke risk and anticoagulants can reduce that risk by more that 60 percent; however, GARFIELD data suggest a lower utilization than would be anticipated based on clinical trial evidence and current treatment guidelines,” says Ajay Kakkar, director of the TRI, and professor of surgery, University College London. “Too many patients remain unprotected, and understanding the reasons for this will help in the appropriate adoption of innovative strategies to prevent stroke and improve clinical outcomes.”
The main reason cited for patients not receiving VKAs was “physician choice” (37%); fewer cited reasons such as low stroke risk (13%); excessive bleeding risk (7%) or history of previous bleeding event (2%). Overall 25% of patients were not prescribed an anticoagulant but received an antiplatelet drug such as aspirin alone which has proven less effective in lowering stroke risk in patients at high risk for stroke as an anticoagulant.
Release Date: August 28, 2011
Source: Thrombosis Research Institute
Filed Under: Drug Discovery