Friday, May 22, 2009

Coumadin and Pharmacogenetics

I know many people who have to take warfarin (Coumadin) because they have a history of venous thromboembolism or VTE. Blood clots can be deadly. Coumadin isn't an easy drug to take. The effects of the drug can really vary based on what you eat, especially if you eat anything that is high in vitamin K like green leafy vegetables. Coumadin acts by blocking the actions of vitamin K (it's often called a vitamin K antagonist).

The The International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium researchers have found that "the use of a pharmacogenetic algorithm for estimating the appropriate initial dose of warfarin produces recommendations that are significantly closer to the required stable therapeutic dose than those derived from a clinical algorithm or a fixed-dose approach." Sounds pretty interesting, doesn't it? Take a look at the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article here if you'd like to read more about this interesting pharmacogenetic algorithm.

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