Less bleeding and lower risk – what’s new in deep vein thrombosis treatment?

A new kind of blood thinner is changing the way deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is treated – and more people should consider long-term use of these newer blood thinners to reduce the risk of DVT, according to an article in the August edition of Australian Prescriber.

Associate Professor Harry Gibbs, Deputy Director of General Medicine at Alfred Health in Melbourne and co-authors have examined the latest recommendations for the treatment of DVT.

“Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in your body, usually in the leg,” explains Associate Professor Gibbs.

“It can be dangerous if it breaks loose and lodges itself in your lungs.

“People who have had DVT have a higher risk of having another one. Using blood thinners reduces the risk of recurrence by 80% but comes with a risk of bleeding,” Associate Professor Gibbs explains.

New blood thinners such as rivaroxaban and apixaban have a lower risk of bleeding compared to warfarin – the old standard in blood thinner treatment for DVT. Also, unlike with warfarin, there is no need to inject blood thinners at the start of treatment. There is also no need for frequent blood tests.

“In the past, only the people at highest risk of DVT used warfarin in the long term, despite the risk of bleeding, to reduce their risk of DVT,” explains Gibbs.

“Because the new blood thinners are easy to use and have a low risk of bleeding, even people at moderate risk of DVT should consider using the new blood thinners long term to reduce their risk.”

As with for all treatments, for every patient the benefits of using blood thinners need to be weighed up against potential harm

Read the full article.


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Australian Prescriber is an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on therapeutic topics for health professionals. It is published by NPS MedicineWise, an independent, not-for-profit organisation for quality use of medicines funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. Australian Prescriber is published every two months and is available online at nps.org.au/australianprescriber.