University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine
News Divider

Safer Drug Combination Found For Patients With High-Risk Atrial Fibrillation


Newer blood thinner a better option for some patients

Patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation, or AFib, often require one drug to regulate heart rhythm and a second drug to thin their blood and reduce the risk of stroke. A recent study led by a University of Missouri School of Medicine cardiologist found that use of a newer blood thinner significantly decreased the risk of strokes for patients with AFib who require both types of medication.

Greg Flaker
Flaker

Although the anticoagulant warfarin has been the standard of care since the 1940s, more recent advancements in blood-thinning medication led to the development of the drug apixaban. The 2011 ARISTOTLE trial, conducted internationally, found that patients with atrial fibrillation taking apixaban had fewer strokes than those taking warfarin.

Greg Flaker, MD, the Wes and Simone Sorenson Chair in Cardiovascular Research at the MU School of Medicine, directed a team of researchers who recently reviewed data from the ARISTOTLE trial.

Flaker’s study indicated that the rate of stroke or blood clot to the body was 39 percent lower in those patients taking the amiodrarone-apixiban drug combination, compared to taking the amiodarone-warfarin combination.

“Although warfarin works very well for most patients who take it, we know that it can be a difficult medication to regulate ― especially when combining it with another drug,” Flaker said. “About 30 percent of patients taking warfarin experience fluctuations in blood thickness, depending on how warfarin is metabolized by the individual. Interaction with another drug, such as amiodarone, also affects how warfarin is metabolized.”

“Amiodarone is a common and effective drug used to normalize irregular heart rhythm caused by atrial fibrillation,” Flaker said. “However, because clotting is a complication associated with the condition, an anticoagulant or blood thinner is frequently used to reduce that possibility. Warfarin has been used as a blood thinner in this capacity for quite some time.”

Flaker, a member of the Steering Committee for the earlier ARISTOTLE clinical trial, and his research team reviewed data from that trial in their study.

“Our study mirrored the ARISTOTLE trial in that apixaban proved to be a better blood -thinning medication for all patients with atrial fibrillation,” Flaker said. “We looked at the specific drug combination of apixaban and amiodarone. We found that if you had atrial fibrillation and were taking amiodarone to control your heart rhythm, your stroke risk would be higher if you took warfarin than if you took apixaban.”

“Certainly there are factors such as cost, physician preference and patient decision-making that affect what drug we use to reduce stroke risks,” Flaker said. “The good news for AFib patients is that there is a very good alternative to warfarin for their physicians to consider when developing care strategies for patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation.”

The study led by Flaker recently was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a publication of the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Funding for the study was sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo of Greg Flaker, MD.

Posted March 5, 2015




News and Events

Greg Flaker, MD Safer Drug Combination Found For Patients With Atrial Fibrillation
Newer blood thinner a better option for some patients

Greg Worsowicz, MD Worsowicz Named President-Elect of Medical Society
Organization represents physical medicine and rehab physicians

AAAS MU School of Medicine Launches LCME Re-accreditation Process
Reception kicks off process of accessing medical education program

AAAS Four Scientists Named AAAS
Fellows for Medical Research

Achievements may advance diagnosis
and treatment for patients

Annual Dialysis Conference MU Hosts World’s Largest Dialysis Conference for 35th Year
Event has brought in nearly 65,000 attendees representing 60 countries

Cook and Stannard Researchers Develop Preservation Method for Donor Tissue
Technology a ‘game-changer’ for patients with joint damage

Zweig Family Medicine Residency Program Ranked Among Nation's Best
Data came from a national evaluation of residency programs

Fadel Researchers Find Link to Daily Physical Activity, Vascular Health
Even a few days of inactivity can decrease function in certain blood vessels

Kimberly Hoffman, PhD New Test Measures Doctors' Ability to Deliver Patient-Centered Care
Assessment tool helps learners become more engaged with patients

Drinking and Sleep MU Researchers Find Alcohol Interferes with Sleep
Study finds alcohol affects the body's sleep homeostasis and can cause insomnia

Research Day MU Announces Awards at Health Sciences Research Day
Event features projects from student and physician researchers

Binge Drinking MU Researchers Identify Epigenetic Changes Caused by Binge Drinking
Overconsumption of alcohol triggers inflammatory response in the liver




Media Relations
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, DC028.00
Columbia, MO 65212
24/7 on-call pager: (573) 876-0708

Mary Jenkins
jenkinsmg@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-7299

Jeff Hoelscher
hoelscherj@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1608

Derek Thompson
thompsonder@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-3323


Web Communications
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, MA204G, DC018.00
Columbia, MO 65212
(573) 884-0298

Rich Gleba
glebar@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-0298

Laura Gerding, APR
gerdingla@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-9193

Velvet Hasner
hasnerv@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1115

Mike Muin
muinm@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-7541



Printer Friendly
Follow us on Twitter!   Facebook   YouTube Videos   Instagram   Pinterest  
Website created and maintained by the Office of Communications. Contact the MU School of Medicine.
Revised: March 05, 2015 - Copyright © 2014 - Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer.