Warfarin is an a blood thinning anticoagulant drug used to prevent blood clots that can be attributed by adnormal heart rhythm. Blood thinners are prescribed to reduce the risk of a sroke when you have risk factors such as the Atriel Fibrilation. The most common medications prescribed for AFib are listed below. Based on my own personal experience I would avoid the Tikosyn and the Flecainide based on experiences that I have had, however everyone responds differently and its important that you and your doctor maintain dialog about what works and what does not work for you. I have been in Afib for 3 years straight now and I have also been on Warfarin for that same period of time. Some doctors will prescribe an 81 mg coated tablet of aspirin as an alternative to Warfarin if your risk factors are not that great. My suggestion is to get as many opinions as you can and don't let anyone tell you different. I have had several Cardiologists and EP Dr's who have all had their own unique ways of treating me and each time I have seen improvement with the additional insight. Good luck and God bless!
Pradaxa is the newest drug for AFib patients and used for clot control. It is much more costly than warfarin and it is not covered by Medicare. There are lots of ads on TV about this drug. It seems to be a great alternative to warfarin but has a draw back or two. A drawback to Pradaxa is there is no drug to give you to bring your INR back to normal should you need to do it quickly. This would be needed if you were in and accident of some kind or needed to have a procedure. With warfarin, they give you a vitamin K shot. A good thing about Pradaxa is that it is not affected by foods. So you can eat as much or little of dark leafy vegetables and not worry about your INR rate going up or down. Pradaxa has been known to cause tummy upsets. This drug is wonderful for people who have difficulty keeping their INR level between 2-3. And the best part: You do not have to have frequent blood tests!
I am currently on warfarin and have been for 5 years. I am thinking about switching to Pradaxa in July. I am a busy person and blood testing is a pain for me. It has been problematic scheduling them. I have had not trouble keeping my INR between 2-3. My only gripe is the frequent blood testing and getting down to the lab so often and waiting for the phone call to see if I need to adjust my dosage.
My cardiologist mentioned Pradaxa on my 6-month check up. He said new, I asked cost, he said higher than Warfarin (but then Warfarin is about as expensive as aspirin - but there is the cost of the blood tests to add to that). I said not now.
Looking on my prescription plan site a 90 day supply of Pradaxa was something like $250. I pay about $10 for warfarin.
As noted, coumadin/warfarin/pradaxa are just about clot reduction (stroke reduction). Other drugs are used to control HR and to, hopefully, stop AFib, put the heart in normal sinus rhythm.
I am on Norpace, Atenolol and Coumadin for my persistent (still occasional) Afib. I've had a few side effects from the Norpace and they seem to be subsiding, most gastrointestinal. I see my cardio in July and think I may need a little higher dose as the extra beats try to break thru, especially in times of stress, which is a big trigger for me.
Ksig, how often do you have to have your INR level checked? They kept trying to push me further and further out and I want to make sure it stays between the 2-3 recommended. I got one of gizmos to check it at home, but couldn't get it to work last time and had to go to the lab anyway. The home INR checker is covered by Blue Cross and Medicare and they want it done once a week, which makes me feel more secure.
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