Both new anti-clotting pills will be an improvement for many people now taking Coumadin, Geerts said. Because of the frequent testing required for Coumadin, many people who are told to take the medication don't follow instructions, he said. "This will likely translate to a larger proportion of people who should be on prophylaxis actually getting it," he said.
But the fact that frequent tests aren't required for the new anti-clotting agents is a challenge to physicians, Geerts said. Lab tests are proof-positive that someone is taking their medicine, he said. "As physicians, we have to think of new strategies to make sure people are compliant," he added.
Learn more about anticoagulant drugs from the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: William Geerts, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Toronto; Richard C. Becker, M.D., professor, medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; June 25, 2008, The Lancet, online; June 26, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine