Warfarin and New Alternatives

Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses Warfarin and new alternatives.

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Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses Warfarin and new alternatives.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Warfarin has been around for about 50 years now, and it’s a commonly used drug.  

The most common condition we use it for is called atrial fibrillation. That’s when the upper chambers kind of wiggle away like a bag of worms and little clots can form inside the heart, and if they break off and travel upstairs, they can go to the brain causing a stroke. They can travel down to the feet, the arms, the organs. They can cause all sorts of problems.

We would like to prevent clots, and in doing so we prevent strokes. Warfarin was the drug we used to use. Fortunately now we have some alternatives. Warfarin had all sorts of problems.  

The problems with Warfarin is that it has a lot of interactions with other medications; it depends on what you eat as to whether your Warfarin levels are on or off. It’s a tough drug to manage for many patients. Fortunately we have three drugs that are much simpler.  

They all have differences. They all are excreted a little bit differently. So the way they’re metabolized are different. Some drugs we get – the newer drugs we get rid of through the kidneys, some through the liver, some through the gut, so they all act a little differently.  

So for patients with kidney disease we might choose one drug over the other. These are important drugs to help prevent strokes, and if you’re not certain whether one of these drugs is the right medication for you, talk to your physician about it because you may be a candidate for one of these new drugs and perhaps allow you to get off your Warfarin.

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Presenter: Dr. Kevin Pistawka, Cardiologist, Kelowna, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

Video Quiz ( 25 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Warfarin is the safest drug of choice for all people with atrial fibrillation.


There are currently 3 new drug alternatives to Warfarin on the market for patients with atrial fibrillation.


New drug alternatives to Warfarin are easier to manage with fewer side effects and drug interactions.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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