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Many Supplements Taken With Blood-Thinner Warfarin Increase The Risk Of Stroke

November 15, 2010: 12:21 PM EST

Research by U.S. scientists has found that people who take herbal and dietary supplements may be putting their lives at risk if they are also taking warfarin, a commonly prescribed blood thinning medication for people with atrial fibrillation who are at risk for stroke. Of the 100 most-used supplements, 69 percent interfere with the effectiveness of warfarin. The researchers interviewed 100 atrial fibrillation patients, finding that 35 combined warfarin with supplements and 54 percent did not know about possible interaction problems. The most commonly used herbal and dietary supplements were vitamins, glucosamine/chondroitin, fish oil and coenzyme Q10. Warfarin and herbal and dietary supplements "compete" in the liver, changing the way the blood thinner works by either increasing the risk of bleeding or by increasing the risk of stroke. The researchers recommended better communication between doctors and patients.

T. Jared Bunch, MD, "New research reveals danger of combining warfarin with herbal and dietary supplements", Presentation, American Health Association's annual scientific session, November 15, 2010, © American Health Association
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