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  • Principal Investigator: Julia Hippisley-Cox
  • 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017
  • Project No: 304
  • Funding round: FR 11
  • Vascular

Anticoagulants (also known as ‘blood thinning’ agents) are used to treat blood clots and also to help prevent people with irregular heartbeats from having a stroke. A stroke can be very serious as it can lead to loss of use of arms or legs, for example. Warfarin is a medicine used to treat blood clots and prevent strokes but it can cause problems for some patients. For example, it needs ongoing blood tests and can cause bleeding - such as vomiting or coughing up blood – which may need hospital care or could even be fatal.

There are some new anticoagulants which may not need blood tests but they are quite expensive. We are also not sure yet how safe these new treatments are in the longer term since the original trials were done over relatively short periods of time (only up to 2 years). Also the trials were done in selected patients who may be different from patients in real world settings. So we need to do research to find out how safe the new anticoagulants are compared with the older ones when used in real world settings over longer periods of time. 

In the UK, we have  a very large medical research database called QResearch which has anonymised information on patients prescribed these drugs by their GP. This information is linked to data from hospitals and  mortality records which means we can undertake our research to find out how safe these newer drugs are and whether they are being used appropriately. In particular we will look at whether the risk of having a bleed is higher for patients taking the new anticoagulants than for warfarin. The results will be published so that everyone can benefit.

Amount awarded: £50,500

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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