Check Your Health: Genetics Can Help to Best Prescribe Warfarin Medication

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Genetics Can Help to Best Prescribe Warfarin Medication (Photo: KUTV){ }

(KUTV) Warfarin is a commonly prescribed and very effective anticlotting medicine. However, each patient requires a different dosage. A recent study called “The Genetic InFormatics Trial (GIFT) of Warfarin” looked at patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery.

“These are high-risk procedures for the formation of blood clots,” says Dr. Scott Woller, Intermountain Medical Center.

Most of these patients typically require medications such as Warfarin to protect them from blood clots during the recovery phase. However, Dr. Woller explains that the challenge with Warfarin is that each individual requires a unique dosage, and the optimal dosage range can vary greatly, and if wrong, can put a patient’s life at risk.

“Some patients may require just a half a milligram a day, others may require up to 15-20 milligrams a day,” says Dr. Woller.

The GIFT trial asked the question of whether a patient’s genetic makeup – paired with characteristics such as age, gender, and other health conditions – could be used when initially prescribing Warfarin. The study looked at incidents of mortality, major bleeding, blood clots, and high INR levels, and the results show personalized dosage reduces complications for these patients.

“Composite outcome occurred 27% less frequently in the genetically dosed group when compared to the control group,” says Dr. Woller.

This study is exciting not just for Warfarin, but also opens up the potential to accurately prescribe other medications based on a patient’s genetic makeup.

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