Taking More Heart Medicine than Needed can Increase risk of Dementia

For patients with atrial fibrillation, there is an increased risk of developing dementia if they are taking dosages of blood thinning medication that are not at optimal recommended range. “Most patients who develop atrial fibrillation require the use of an anticoagulant to prevent a stroke. The most common anticoagulant used worldwide is Warfarin, and we now know that if Warfarin doses are consistently too high or too low, one of the long-term consequences can be brain damage,” said Jared Bunch, MD. “This points to the possibility that dementia in atrial fibrillation patients is partly due to small repetitive clots and/or bleeds in the brain.”



For the study, researchers collected data from 2,693 AFib patients, with 4.1 percent diagnosed with dementia. The results showed that taking medicines to prevent blood clots at a dosage that is too high or too low increased the risk of dementia. However, the more time the dosage was in recommended range, the less risk of developing dementia. Results showed that patients within the “therapeutic range less than 25 percent of the time were 4.5 times more likely to develop dementia, within range 25-50 percent of the time were 4.1 times more likely to develop dementia, and within range 51-75 percent were only 2.5 percent more likely to develop dementia.”



Dr. Bunch says the results from the study can tell them two things. “With careful use of anticoagulation medications, the dementia risk can be reduced. Second, these results also point to a potential new long-term consequence of dependency on long-term anticoagulation medications. In this regard, stroke prevention therapies do not require long-term anticoagulation medications and reducing the use of these drugs will hopefully lower dementia risk.”



Resource: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/05/12/dementia-risk-if-heart-meds-dosage-is-not-optimal/69739.html



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