Do I Still Need To Take Warfarin If I No Longer Have Atrial Fibrillation?

Question: After taking a medicine for atrial fibrillation, I no longer have heart rhythm problems. Do I still need to keep taking warfarin to help prevent a stroke?

Answer :You will still need to keep taking warfarin for stroke prevention, even if medications seem to be controlling your atrial fibrillation. And that reflects the fact that even if atrial fibrillation seems to be controlled, you may be going into episodes of atrial fibrillation while you're sleeping at night, where you may be having episodes of atrial fibrillation that you're unaware of.

This has been a question that's actually been carefully studied in many clinical trials, and there is now widespread agreement around the world that the decision on whether to continue or start and or continue warfarin really depends on your risk factors for stroke. Those include congestive heart failure, hypertension, age over 75, diabetes, and a prior stroke.

So regardless of whether your atrial fibrillation seems to be controlled by a medication, you still should be on warfarin if you are determined to be at increased risk of stroke at the time you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.