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Genetic testing may reduce hospitalizations caused by blood thinning medication

Category: Coagulation and blood clotting disorders

A newly developed genetic test that allows doctors to determine the safest and most effective dose of the blood thinning drug warfarin may significantly reduce hospitalizations of heart patients during the early dose-adjustment phase, new research has found.

The innovative test is reportedly capable of identifying two genes - CYP2C9 and VKORC1 –that strongly influence sensitivity to warfarin, the world's most-prescribed blood thinning agent.

"Genetic testing is a tool clinicians can use to more accurately predict the best warfarin dose early on," said Robert Epstein, president of the Medco Research Institute.

"Patients may get to a stable dose more quickly and, therefore, have a lower risk of negative outcomes, such as excess bleeding or unwanted blood clotting," he added.

In the study, the researchers utilized the genetic test on nearly 900 heart patients shortly after they began warfarin therapy and modified their dosages accordingly. After six months of follow-up, patients who underwent genetic testing were 31 percent less likely to be hospitalized for any cause and 29 percent less likely to be hospitalized for excess bleeding or clotting.

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