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Atrial Fibrillation, Warfarin Use May Increase Dementia Risk

Atrial Fibrillation, Warfarin Use May Increase Dementia Risk

'Patients with atrial fibrillation may have a heightened risk of developing dementia — and the quality of their anticoagulation treatment may play a role, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

The findings are based on records from 10,537 patients who were on warfarin for atrial fibrillation or to prevent thromboembolism from other causes.


After adjustment for age and health quality, the atrial fibrillation patients had more than double the risk of dementia than that of other patients.


T. Jared Bunch, MD, the lead researcher on the study and cardiologist at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, told HealthDay that the findings uncover two potential concerns: Patients with atrial fibrillation may face an increased risk of dementia, independent of warfarin use, but warfarin might also contribute to dementia if the doses are not optimal.



Atrial Fibrillation Patients Treated with Long-term Warfarin Anticoagulation Have Higher Rates of All Dementia Types Compared to Patients Receiving Warfarin Long-term for Other Indications. Published online May 5, 2016.

While we are at an increased age related risk of developing Atrial Fibrillation, there is also approximately a 5% risk of developing this condition while taking Ibrutinib/Imbruvica (and as Chris points out, warfarin is contraindicated while you are on Ibrutinib).  So if you have Atrial Fibrillation, please bear in mind the importance of working with your doctor to ensure you have an optimal dose of warfarin if that's your prescribed blood thinner.


5 Replies

Just want to mention Warfarin is contra indicated for use with Imbruvica (ibrutinib). 

There are much easier to manage drugs than warfarin, where dosing can be an issue.

For example the family of Xa inhibitors...

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Does this imply that ibrutinib can be used while on Xarelto? That would be good news to me. 


No it should NOT imply that...

Xarelto is NOT directly contra indicated with ibrutinib , however I was on both for 2 months and had to stop Imbruvica (ibrutinib) due to severe bleeds...

Talk to both your doctor and cardiologist and go from there, would be my advice.



Thanks Chris. That's what my previous conclusion was. Since I finished BR about 5 months ago with a CR and only .01% remaining marrow involvement I don't need to do anything for some time, and by that time hopefully Venetoclax or acalabrutinib is approved for second line without restriction. My use of Xarelto is not because of afib or other heart related issues but because of a DVT/PE. The DVT was the result of the then undiagnosed advanced stage CLL/SLL. 



Oh dear! 


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