Those with atrial fibrillation often have to take blood thinners, like warfarin, to reduce the risk of stroke.
The problem is, warfarin requires close monitoring as well as some dietary restrictions to maintain its effectiveness and reduce the very real risk of side effects, like bleeding. It can be a significant disruption in a patient’s life, requiring regular trips to a anticoagulation clinic to have blood drawn for monitoring.
A recent study showed that the addition of Plavix to aspirin reduced the risk of stroke in those with atrial fibrillation, but also increased the risk of bleeding.
Warfarin remains first-line treatment, but for those who cannot tolerate a closely monitored course of blood thinners, the addition of Plavix seems like a reasonable second-line option.
Of course, Plavix is considerably more expensive than warfarin or aspirin, and it comes as no surprise that the drug companies who make Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-aventis, funded this study.