Computers as Safe as Medical Experts for Prescribing Blood Thinning Drugs
Posted Jun 29 2008 3:05pm
The largest ever study into the administration of blood thinning drugs, principally Warfarin, has concluded that dosages calculated by computer are at least as safe and reliable as those provided by expert medical professionals.
Increasing evidence of the value of these anticoagulant drugs in a wide range of clinical disorders such as abnormal heart rhythm, or atrial fibrillation, has led to a rapid rise in their use around the world.
However, prescribing the right oral dose of anticoagulant to patients, even for experienced medical staff, can be problematic as individuals differ greatly in response to a given dose and a single patient’s response can change over the period of an illness. Too high a dose for an individual and the blood becomes too thin and can lead to internal bleeding, too low and the blood clots too readily.
Previous studies supporting the use of computer-assisted dosage have depended solely on laboratory results and have not been sufficiently large to determine whether prolongation of normal blood clotting – measured as the ‘international normalised ratio’ or INR – resulted in clinical benefit and improved safety.