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Healthy Heart Reports

Doctors Are Afraid To Change: Coumadin And Aspirin

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that aspirin is as effective as coumadin in preventing strokes, but fear of lawsuits will prevent doctors from taking advantage of this wonderful news that can improve the lives of millions of people who take coumadin because of irregular heart beats, previous history of clots, heart attacks or strokes.

Coumadin is a dangerous drug. It has to be closely regulated with frequent blood tests because too much can cause bleeding and too little increases risk for strokes. Adding any drug or changing your diet can change the dose requirements of coumadin. Since coumadin blocks the clotting vitamin K, foods with vitamin K increase needs for coumadin. So doctors tell their patients to avoid all leafy green vegetables. This creates an unhealthy diet which increases a person's chances of getting heart attacks and stokes. Simple accidents can cause a person on coumadin to bleed to death.

On the other hand, aspirin is far safer. Doses rarely need to be changed when a person changes his diet or medication. Unlike coumadin, aspirin allows people to eat a perfectly healthful diet. This recent report shows that the far safer aspirin is as effective as the far more dangerous coumadin. However, the definition of malpractice is "not practicing the way that other doctors practice." Since most doctors today have not read these recent reports, they will continue to prescribe coumadin to people with irregular heart beats and clots. Therefore, anyone who does anything else is guilty of the legal definition of malpractice. That is the only reason doctors will not switch from the highly dangerous coumadin to the far safer aspirin.

NEMJ, November 15, 2001


Copyright 2002
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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