Research presented at the American Heart Association’s “Emergin Science Series” webinar indicates that some patients with certain types of artrial fibrillation (AF) and irregular heartbeats who are taken off anti-clotting medication may be at a heightened risk of stroke or blood clotting within a month of discontinuing the medication.

Researchers report that they analyzed data yielding form the ROCKET AF clinical trail. Their findings indicate that the risk remains whether patients are taking warfarin or the newer anti-coagulant rivaroxban. While the clinical trial’s results indicate that rivaroxaban is as effective as warfarin in preventing stroke and blood clots in AF patients, researchers emphasize their concerns regarding the potential risk of increased rates of stroke and blood clots in patients after discontinuing rivaroxaban.

According to a recent news release, as a result researchers assessed when and how strokes and blood clots occurred between 3 days and 30 days following early drug discontinuation or transition to warfarin at the study’s end. The results suggest that strokes and blood clots occurred at similar rates for both drugs following a temporary interruption, and in both drugs following a permanent stop in the medication. The results also indicate that strokes and blood clots occurred more often in the transition from rivaroxaban to open label therapy compared to warfarin. Researchers add that the risk of stroke appeared to be higher than blood clots. The study reports that the drugs exhibited no difference when evaluated for all blood clot-related events.

Source: American Heart Association