Doctors often instruct patients with high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats or other conditions to take the drug Plavix together with aspirin to prevent blood clots. Until now it was believed that this combo was safer than the anti-clotting drug warfarin (which goes under brand names including Coumadin and Jantoven), because warfarin can sometimes cause uncontrolled bleeding. But a new review of emergency room records published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that, while warfarin led to more cases of minor uncontrolled bleeding from things like nosebleeds and cuts, the Plavix/aspirin regimen caused just as many dangerous hemorrhages as warfarin did.
Hemorrhages that occur with warfarin can be managed, but the authors said, "there remain few similar interventions" for stopping bleeding from the combination antiplatelet therapy".
So, what to do if you require anticlotting medication? As always, talk to your doctor. In the category of potentially good news, two new drugs, called rivaroxaban and Pradaxa appear to be safer alternatives to warfarin.