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Eur J Haematol. 2006 Dec;77(6):457-62. Epub 2006 Oct 17.

Appraisal of current vitamin K dosing algorithms for the reversal of over-anticoagulation with warfarin: the need for a more tailored dosing regimen.

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Wolfson Unit of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Warfarin is the most commonly prescribed oral anticoagulant in the UK for the treatment and prevention of thromboembolic disorders. Vitamin K administration is an effective way of reversing excessive anticoagulation. Over-anticoagulated patients present with a wide range of international normalized ratio (INR) values and may respond differently to a fixed dose of vitamin K. Current dosing algorithms for vitamin K administration in the non-urgent treatment of over-anticoagulation do not take this variability in response into account. Consequently, over a third of over-anticoagulated patients still remain outside their target INR 24 h after treatment. Such patients are therefore prone to either haemorrhage (if the patient is still over-anticoagulated) or thromboembolism (if the INR reversal is over-corrected). A number of factors such as patient age, body weight, co-morbidity, frailty, warfarin daily dose and CYP2C9 and VKORC1 polymorphism could affect response to vitamin K and thus the rate and extent of INR reversal. There is a need for a more individualized approach to the reversal of over-anticoagulation in asymptomatic or mildly haemorrhagic patients in order to improve the safety of warfarin therapy.

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