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Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...

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Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Bleeding From Anticoagulants—All Anticoagulants are Dangerous

No one likes to take anticoagulants. They are inherently dangerous.

Drug therapy with oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation is based on finding the ideal balance of effectiveness versus safety of these drugs.

In real-world clinical practice, bleedings were the most typical and common adverse events from treatment with oral anticoagulants (NOACs). Data from observational studies are an additional source of information for the adverse events (AEs) that come from taking anticoagulants.

Bleedings were the most typical and common adverse events from treatment with oral anticoagulants (NOACs).
One observational study, “ANTEY”, is a study from Russia that followed 186 A-Fib patients taking anticoagulants. The study reported 55 adverse events (AEs). There were 25 serious events, including 4 deaths.

The incidence of bleeding of those treated with NOACs was approximately 8% to 9%. (The bleeding risk with warfarin, was much higher.)

How Anticoagulants Decrease Your Risk of Blood Clots and Stroke

To decrease your risk of blood clots and stroke, anticoagulants hinder the clotting ability of your blood. The result is anticoagulants can cause or increase bleeding. That’s how they work.

In addition, they increase your risk of microbleeds in the brain, hemorrhagic stroke, early dementia, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

“Oral anticoagulants are high-risk medications” (Drs. Witt & Hansen).

Alert to Anyone Taking Anticoagulants

This study from Russia is another Red Flag alert for anyone taking anticoagulants.

It’s like playing Russian Roulette with your health. One out of ten times you’re at risk of a bullet to the brain (i.e., 8%-9% risk of Adverse Events when taking anticoagulants).

None the Less, Anticoagulants Do Reduce Your Chance of Stroke

But in spite of the possible negative effects of anticoagulants, if you have A-Fib and are at real risk of stroke, anticoagulants do work.

You’re no longer 4–5 times more likely to have an A-Fib (ischemic) stroke. Taking an anticoagulant to prevent an A-Fib stroke also may give you peace of mind.

If You Have A-Fib, Can You Safely Stop Taking Anticoagulants?

Never just stop taking your anticoagulant or reducing the dosage. That’s a decision for you and your doctor.

Yes! The best way to deal with the increased risk of stroke and side effects of anticoagulants is to no longer need them.

Here are three options:

#1 Alternative: Get rid of your A-Fib

As EP and prolific blogger Dr. John Mandrola wrote: “…if there is no A-Fib, there is no benefit from anticoagulation.”

Action: Request a catheter ablation procedure. Today, you can have an ablation immediately (called ‘first-line therapy’). You don’t have to waste a year on failed drug therapies. See Catheter Ablation Reduces Stroke Risk Even for Higher Risk Patients

#2 Alternative: Close off your Left Atrial Appendage (LAA)

The Left Atrial Appendage is where 90%-95% of A-Fib clots originate. Close off your LAA and you may no longer need to take an anticoagulant.

Action: Request a Watchman occlusion device. The Watchman device is inserted to close off your LAA and keep clots from entering your blood stream. See Watchman Better Than Lifetime on Warfarin

#3 Alternative: Consider non-prescription blood thinners

Ask your doctor about your CHA2DS2-VASc score (a stroke risk assessor). If your score is a 1 or 2 (out of 10), you are at low risk of having a stroke. You may not need to take an anticoagulant at all.

Action: Ask your doctor if you could take a non-prescription approach to a blood thinner. Perhaps you can benefit from an increase in natural blood thinners such as turmeric, ginger, vitamin E or, especially, the supplement Nattokinase. See FAQ: “Are natural blood thinners as good as prescription blood thinners?”  (Only change your medication under your doctor’s supervision.)

What this Means for A-Fib Patients

Bleeding from taking anticoagulants is a serious side effect. Drug therapy with oral anticoagulants  is based on finding the ideal balance of effectiveness versus safety of these drugs.

Perhaps the best balance may be to avoid needing anticoagulants in the first place:

Your options: Seek your A-Fib cure, i.e., get rid of your Atrial Fibrillation. Reduce your risk of stroke by closing off your Left Atrial Appendage. Or seek a non-drug natural blood thinner option to taking an anticoagulant.

• Martsevich, S. Y. et al. Analysis of Adverse Events in the Treatment of Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation with Oral Anticoagulants: Data from the “ANTEY” Observational Study. Pharmaceuticals. 2022, 13, 1209, MDPI.

• Witt, Daniel W. and Hansen, Alisyn L. New Oral Anticoagulants Can Require Careful Dosing Too. by Scott Baltic. Editorial, Medscape/Reuters Health Information, December 29, 2016.


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