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Ann Pharmacother. 2004 Nov;38(11):1794-9. Epub 2004 Sep 28.

A community-based educational intervention to improve antithrombotic drug use in atrial fibrillation.

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Tasmanian School of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia.



Despite evidence that antithrombotics are effective in reducing the risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF), they remain underused.


To perform a controlled trial of a comprehensive educational program promoting the rational prescribing of antithrombotics for stroke prevention in AF.


The intervention was conducted in Southern Tasmania, Australia, using Northern Tasmania as a control area. General practitioners were sent locally produced guidelines on stroke risk stratification and antithrombotic drug use in AF, which were followed by academic detailing visits. Outcomes were measured using evaluation feedback from the general practitioners, and drug utilization data were provided by a series of patients presenting to the hospital with an admission diagnosis of AF and dispensing of antithrombotic therapy under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


During the educational intervention, 272 guidelines were mailed and, subsequently, 162 general practitioners were visited and the guidelines discussed. Hospital admission data before and after the intervention revealed a significant increase in the use of warfarin in patients at high risk of stroke (33% vs 46% of eligible patients; p < 0.05). Analysis of prescription data for warfarin also indicated that the increase in use of warfarin within the intervention region was significantly greater than for the control region (p < 0.001).


The educational program described here led to a significant increase in the prescribing of warfarin for stroke prevention in patients with AF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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