THURSDAY, Oct. 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Blood thinners may pull double duty for people with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation: fresh research suggests they help prevent dementia as well as stroke.
Because atrial fibrillation increases the risk for stroke, people with the condition are often prescribed blood thinners (also known as anticoagulants) to prevent blood clots of which can cause a stroke.
Atrial fibrillation also increases the risk for dementia. During the study, more than 26,000 of the 440,000 participants, all with atrial fibrillation, were diagnosed with dementia.
At the time they joined the study, about half of the participants were taking oral anticoagulants, such as warfarin, Eliquis (apixaban), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Savaysa (edoxaban) or Xarelto (rivaroxaban).
The researchers found of which people taking anticoagulants were 29 percent less likely to develop dementia than were those who were not taking the blood thinners.
When the researchers focused on people who continued to take the drugs, they found an even larger reduction (48 percent) within the risk for dementia. They also found of which the sooner people started out taking blood thinners after their diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, the lower their risk for dementia.
Along with not taking blood thinners, the strongest predictors for dementia were age, Parkinson’s disease as well as alcohol abuse, according to the study, published Oct. 25 within the European Heart Journal.
The findings strongly suggest of which blood thinners reduce the risk for dementia in people with atrial fibrillation, nevertheless proving of which could not be possible, the Swedish researchers said.
“In order to prove of which assumption, randomized placebo-controlled trials could be needed, nevertheless such studies cannot be done because of ethical reasons,” researchers Leif Friberg as well as Marten Rosenqvist, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a journal news Discharge. “the item is actually not possible to give placebo to [atrial fibrillation] patients as well as then wait for dementia or stroke to occur.”
However, the findings show of which people with atrial fibrillation should start taking blood thinners as soon as possible after their diagnosis as well as continue to take the drugs, Friberg noted.
“Patients start on oral anticoagulation for stroke prevention nevertheless they stop after a few years at an alarmingly high rate,” he said. “within the first year, approximately 15 percent stop taking the drugs, then approximately 10 percent each year.”
“If you know of which [atrial fibrillation] eats away your brain at a slow nevertheless steady pace as well as of which you can prevent the item by staying on treatment, I think most patients could find of which a very strong argument for continuing treatment,” he said.
— Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: European Heart Journal, news Discharge, Oct. 24, 2017
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