Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Although drug interactions with warfarin are an important cause of excessive anticoagulation, their impact on the risk of serious bleeding is unknown. We therefore performed a cohort study and a nested case-control analysis to determine the risk of serious bleeding in 4152 patients (aged 40-84 years) with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) taking long-term warfarin (> 3 months). The study population was drawn from the UK General Practice Research Database. More than half (58%) of eligible patients used potentially interacting drugs during continuous warfarin treatment. Among 45 identified cases of incident idiopathic bleeds (resulting in hospitalisation within 30 days or death within 7 days) and 143 matched controls, more cases than controls took > or = 1 potentially interacting drug within the preceding 30 days (62.2% vs. 35.7%) and used > 4 drugs (polypharmacy) within the preceding 90 days (80.0% vs. 66.4%). Conditional logistic regression analysis yielded an odds ratio (OR) of 3.4 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4-8.5) for the risk of serious bleeding in patients treated with warfarin and > or = 1 drugs potentially increasing the effect of warfarin vs. warfarin alone adjusted for polypharmacy, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and thyroid disease; the adjusted OR for the combined use of warfarin and aspirin vs. warfarin alone was 4.5 (95% CI: 1.1-18.1). We conclude that concurrent use of potentially interacting drugs with warfarin is associated with a 3 to 4.5-fold increased risk of serious bleeding in long-term warfarin users.

Original publication




Journal article


Thromb Haemost

Publication Date





537 - 543


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Analgesics, Non-Narcotic, Anti-Infective Agents, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal, Anticoagulants, Atrial Fibrillation, Case-Control Studies, Cerebrovascular Disorders, Chronic Disease, Drug Interactions, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hemorrhage, Hospitalization, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Thrombolytic Therapy, United Kingdom, Warfarin