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"Drug linked to rise in brain hemorrhages"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 09 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

One of the basic laws of physics holds: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
That principle, it seems, applies to some aspects of medicine as well.
Research shows that routine use of the anti-clotting drug warfarin in people suffering from atrial fibrillation (a rapid, irregular heartbeat) has dramatically reduced the number of strokes caused by clotting of the blood....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 8
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Applicable
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Although the study does mention that warfarin is used for prevention of stroke the study that is being reported on was not looking at the benefits of treatment but at harms. We typically don't review a story where the main thrust is the negative effects of a treatment but made an exception with this one as Warfarin is so widely used.

This article unfortunately failed to provide full information about the study design, number of patients included, benefits and harm in terms of absolute risk reductions or information about warfarin as compared with other anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation particularly those over 80 years of age. Yet beyond all that, the message of this story is simple and important: that the risks of drug treatment are not uniform. Some people are more at risk than others and the characteristics of individuals need to be taken into account when prescribing and monitoring drug treatment. This message applies not just to warfarin but to all drugs.

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