Genetic testing helps set safe dose of common blood thinner

View Content

Warfarin is a blood thinner that is commonly prescribed to patients to prevent life-threatening blood clots. Despite its longtime use, warfarin remains tricky to dose because a person’s genetic makeup influences how the drug is processed in the body. Too much warfarin can cause internal bleeding; too little warfarin fails to prevent blood clots.

Now, a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that dosing warfarin (Coumadin and others) is safer — producing fewer adverse events such as hemorrhage — when key elements of a patient’s genetic makeup are considered.