Press Release Date: September 14, 2009
HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today released Staying
Active and Healthy with Blood Thinners, a new 10-minute video in English
and Spanish to help educate patients about how to use anticoagulant drugs,
commonly called blood thinners, safely.
Nearly 2 million Americans receive prescriptions for blood thinners each year to
reduce their risk of forming dangerous blood clots that can lead to serious conditions
such as deep vein thrombosis—clots that form in the deep veins of the legs or
groin—or pulmonary embolism—clots that travel to the lungs and can be
fatal. Patients who have had certain kinds of stroke or who have a type of irregular
heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation are often prescribed blood thinners, as are
patients who have recently had major surgery or are immobile for other reasons.
Research shows that blood thinners can have serious side effects. They can
cause uncontrollable bleeding and are among the top causes of adverse drug events
in the country. According to data from AHRQ's Nationwide Emergency Department Sample,
more than 7,300 Americans a year are treated in U.S. emergency departments for
uncontrolled bleeding associated with use of blood thinners, and about half have
to be hospitalized. An unknown number of patients are treated for less-severe bleeding
in urgent care clinics, doctors' offices or at home.
"Blood thinners are lifesaving drugs but, as we've seen time
and again, they can also be very dangerous when not used safely," said
AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Educating patients and their
family members is key to improving the safe use of these medicines."
Designed to complement education that patients receive in their doctor's
offices, clinics, pharmacies or hospitals, the new video helps patients
better understand blood thinners and how to manage them effectively. Any patient
on blood thinner therapy, regardless of the initial cause and or specific
medical regimen, can benefit from the video.
The video features:
- A patient on blood thinners and how he manages his medication regimen
safely in everyday settings like work, home and leisure time
- Simplified medical terminology and easy-to-understand language
- Animated graphics showing how dangerous blood clots form and their consequences
- Menu selections that allow patients to replay and review specific instructional
The video also introduces a mnemonic called B-E-S-T to help patients remember
important parts of a treatment program they can follow to help keep them
safe and healthy. B-E-S-T stands for Be careful, Eat right, Stick to a routine,
and Test regularly. AHRQ is sharing the video with clinicians in primary
care and cardiology practices, nurses responsible for hospital discharge planning,
anticoagulation therapy clinics, and clinical pharmacists.
The video is
available as a DVD and can be obtained from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse
by calling 1-800-358-9295 or sending an e-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.
A companion bilingual print brochure, Blood Thinner Pills: Your
Guide to Using Them Safely/Pastillas que diluyen la sangre: Guía para
su uso seguro, is also available free of charge. For details,
visit the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/btpills.htm
For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1244 or (301) 427-1855.
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AHRQ Announces New Video to Help Patients Use Blood Thinner
Pills Safely and Effectively. Press Release, September 14, 2009. Agency
for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2009/bldthnvidpr.htm