Studies continue to put a harsh light on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are medications used...READ MORE
Blood Thinner 101: Why Are People Worried About Vitamin K?
In ads across the country we keep hearing about the many benefits of the new generation of blood thinners like Xarelto or Pradaxa. On Pradaxa’s own website we immediately hear the benefits, like: “No regular blood tests!” and “No dietary restrictions!”
But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that Pradaxa, Xarelto and other types of blood thinners may come with some serious downsides, just like their predecessor, Warfarin. These downsides may not be talked about as much as the “No regular blood tests!” and other exclamations, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be made aware of them.
Because of the high associated risk for bleeding that comes with taking popular blood thinners, drug interactions are one of the premiere concerns that patients taking blood thinners need to be aware of. But it’s not what you think — because some of the “downsides” of Warfarin may be the same negatives for taking the newer generation of blood thinners like Pradaxa and Xarelto, only in a very different way.
Perhaps the most worrisome risk associated with taking Warfarin is the risk of raising a person’s vitamin K level, as vitamin K may cause the blood thinner to not be as effective.. That’s why there are such stringent dietary requirements with Warfarin, because eating foods like broccoli, lettuce and asparagus, all typically very healthy foods that are high in vitamin K, may contradict Warfarin. But, at the same time, it’s the same vitamin K that may be Warfarin’s saving grace. A dose of Vitamin K is capable of acting as a powerful antidote that can reverse a dangerous overdose of Warfarin, which may cause a bleeding event.
For the newer generation of blood thinners like Xarelto and Pradaxa, there may be no dietary restrictions, and so no risk for consuming too much vitamin K-rich foods, but there is also no potential “saving grace” for vitamin K to be used as an antidote if a bleeding event occurs.
What this all means is the newer generation of blood thinners like Xarelto and Pradaxa may come with a serious and specific risk: That doctors lose the ability to help their patients once they begin bleeding. With Warfarin, there may be a similarly serious risk for bleeding, but with vitamin K, doctors have a tool at their disposal to help these patients in their time of need. This tool does not exist for patients using Pradaxa or Xarelto.