Dr. Sam Goldhaber discusses the importance of medication adherence for patients on anticoagulants.

Hello, this is Dr. Sam Goldhaber. I’m President of NATF and I’m talking to you today on the Clot Chronicles on the topic of adherence to anticoagulant medications. You would think that would be the advent of the NOACs (also known as DOACs), these Novel Oral Anticoagulants, that don’t require any special blood testing or dose adjustment that the adherence of patients to taking their anticoagulant medication would be sky high – in maybe ninety percent, ninety-five percent, but recent studies tell us that even for patients who are taking NOACs, and by NOACs I mean dabigatran, apixaban, rivaroxaban, or edoxaban. If you follow patients out for one year after they’ve been prescribed a NOAC for stroke prevention and atrial fibrillation the rates of not taking or non-adherence to the NOACs are surprisingly high.

It seems that about twenty to thirty percent of patients can’t follow through on taking their NOAC anticoagulant during the first year it’s prescribed. I think this is unfortunate because these patients are presumably going to be at much higher risk of stroke, if they have underlying atrial fibrillation, than patients who are adhering and complying with the medication regimen.

The question is, what can we do as healthcare providers or as family or friends of the patient? I think as healthcare providers we can’t assume just because we’ve prescribed the medication that the med is being taken, and if we are family members or friends of the patient then for sure we should remind the patient to take the anticoagulant because the risks of non-adherence are high.

This is Dr. Sam Goldhaber for the Clot Chronicles. Thank you.