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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Self-treatment may prevent clots

Thursday December 1st, 2011

People who are taking regular drugs to prevent blood clotting fare better if they are trained to monitor their treatment themselves, British researchers say today.

In Germany about 20 per cent of patients test themselves and manage their dose levels - but in other countries the procedure is unusual.

These patients enjoy a risk of developing blood clots that is almost halved compared with those who have conventional care, according to the study, reported in The Lancet.

Researchers at Oxford University studied the results of some 11 randomised trials of self-monitoring.

They found that self-monitoring but the risk of dangerous blood clots by 49 per cent - but it did not make a difference to the overall risk of dying.

The researchers led by Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University, UK, say: "Self-monitoring and self-management of oral coagulation is a safe option for suitable patients of all ages. Patients should also be offered the option to self-manage their disease with suitable health-care support as back-up."

Writing in the journal, Paul Alexander Kyrle and Sabine Eichinger from the Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, say self-management should be used for patients with mechanical heart valves.

They add: "We do not see a place for self-monitoring in other areas of this treatment except for individual patients for whom access to routine usual anticoagulation care is restricted."

Maureen Talbot, of the British Heart Foundation, said the findings should not be seen as a "green light" for patients to treat themselves without a doctor's advice.

She said: "These results are certainly encouraging because they suggest suitable patients can self-monitor their medicine effectively, with appropriate support from a healthcare professional."

The Lancet December 1 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61748-0

Tags: Europe | Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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