NPS MedicineWise welcomes Sansom recommendations on anticoagulants

NPS MedicineWise welcomes the recommendations of the Sansom Review of Anticoagulant Therapies in Atrial Fibrillation, released today, as it prepares to launch an educational program on good anticoagulant practice in early 2012.

Clinical adviser at NPS MedicineWise Dr Danielle Stowasser says that oral anticoagulant medicines, including warfarin and the newer anticoagulants, play an important role for people with atrial fibrillation.

“NPS MedicineWise supports any initiative that encourages the safe use of anticoagulants,” says Dr Stowasser.

“The Sansom Review highlights important issues including the need for optimising warfarin treatment, the importance of establishing national guidelines for the use of anticoagulant medicines, and the uncertainty that surrounds the overall benefit of the new oral anticoagulants.

“Warfarin has been used successfully for over 50 years and remains the mainstay of anticoagulant therapy. Our recent NPS RADAR reviews of two of the newer oral anticoagulants – dabigatran and rivaroxaban – concluded that for patients who are well controlled on warfarin, there may be no clinical benefit in switching to a new oral anticoagulant,” says Dr Stowasser.

“All medicines have both risks and benefits, and in the case of anticoagulants – old and new – there are safety issues with all of them.”

To help address these safety issues, NPS MedicineWise will be launching an educational program for health professionals and for consumers in February 2013 on the optimal use of oral anticoagulants – including both warfarin and the newer oral anticoagulants.

The program, Achieving Good Anticoagulant Practice, will help provide clarity and put the newer oral anticoagulants into context compared to warfarin.

The health professional component of the program will cover quality use of medicines principles as they apply to managing people on these medicines, including selecting management options wisely, ensuring the safe and effective use of oral anticoagulants, and emphasising the importance of monitoring all patients taking an oral anticoagulant – newer agents included.

There is also a consumer education component of the program to encourage safe and wise use of anticoagulants.

Consumer who would like more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals), call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) . Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.