Are the risk factors listed in warfarin prescribing information associated with anticoagulation-related bleeding? A systematic literature review

University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Storrs, CT, USA.
International Journal of Clinical Practice (Impact Factor: 2.57). 07/2011; 65(7):749-63. DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02694.x
Source: PubMed


Warfarin significantly reduces thromboembolic risk, but perceptions of associated bleeding risk limit its use. The evidence supporting the association between bleeding and individual patient risks factors is unclear. This systematic review aims to determine the strength of evidence supporting an accentuated bleeding risk when patients with risk factors listed in the warfarin prescribing information are prescribed the drug. A systematic literature search of MEDLINE and Cochrane CENTRAL was conducted to identify studies reporting multivariate relationships between prespecified covariates and the risk of bleeding in patients receiving warfarin. The prespecified covariates were identified based on patient characteristics for bleeding listed in the warfarin package insert. Each covariate was evaluated for its association with specific types of bleeding. The quality of individual evaluations was rated as 'good', 'fair' or 'poor' using methods consistent with those recommended by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Overall strength of evidence was determined using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development (GRADE) criteria and categorised as 'insufficient', 'very low', 'low', 'moderate' or 'high'. Thirty-four studies, reporting 134 multivariate evaluations of the association between a covariate and bleeding risk were identified. The majority of evaluations had a low strength of evidence for the association between covariates and bleeding and none had a high strength of evidence. Malignancy and renal insufficiency were the only two covariates that had a moderate strength of evidence for their association with major and minor bleeding respectively. The associations between covariates listed in the warfarin prescribing information and increased bleeding risk are not well supported by the medical literature.

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