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Thromb Haemost. 1989 Sep 29;62(2):729-32.

Poor compliance is a major factor in unstable outpatient control of anticoagulant therapy.

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University Department of Medicine, General Infirmary, Leeds, UK.


Control of oral anticoagulant therapy in outpatients is often unsatisfactory. The contribution of poor compliance with prescribed warfarin to unstable anticoagulant control was investigated prospectively using low-dose phenobarbitone as an indicator of compliance in 30 out-patients, 15 with stable and 15 with unstable control. Following entry to the study, there was no significant change in anticoagulation (p = 0.36) in the group with stable control. In the group who previously had unstable control, there was a significant change in INR (p = 0.0045) and anticoagulant control greatly improved. It appears that the considerable fluctuation in INR seen in many of the latter patients before the study was due to poor compliance and that entering them into the study modified their behavior. Two patients in this group who continued to have unstable anticoagulant control were shown to be poorly compliant using the phenobarbitone indicator. The results suggest that, in outpatients, poor compliance is the major cause of unstable anticoagulation with warfarin.

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