What is the role of warfarin in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients at high risk of ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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In the Atrial fibrillation Clopidogrel Trial with Irbesartan for prevention of Vascular Events (ACTIVE W), oral anticoagulation with warfarin proved superior to clopidogrel plus aspirin for prevention of vascular events in patients with AF who were at high risk of stroke. [137] The study was stopped early because of clear evidence of superiority of oral anticoagulation therapy.

Interestingly, in ACTIVE W, the rate of vascular events was significantly higher in patients who switched from warfarin to clopidogrel plus aspirin as a result of randomization than in patients who had been on warfarin before study enrollment and remained on warfarin during the study. The benefit of anticoagulation therapy over dual antiplatelet therapy was much more modest in patients who had not been on warfarin before study initiation and were then randomized to warfarin.

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