Aspirin and coumadin are drugs that help thin out blood to prevent them from clotting. Either one of these drugs can be prescribed if the doctor believes you are at high risk for stroke and blood clots. Both drugs work effectively in preventing incidence of stroke. Your doctor can give you one or the other but it all depends on certain factors.
Aspirin vs Coumadin: Mechanism of Action:
Aspirin works specifically on the platelets, preventing them from aggregating. Warfarin (Coumadin) works by reducing the blood proteins responsible for promoting blood clots. Some people respond well to one treatment compared to the other. However, a study that lasted for 7 years, the Warfarin vs Aspirin Recurrent Stroke Study (WARSS), shows that between two drugs, there is not much difference.
Aspirin Lowers Risk for Stroke in Patients Who Have Not Had a Previous Attack
The 7-year study of WARSS had patients who have previously experienced stroke. If you have experience an episode of stroke once in your life, there is a big possibility that you will have a second stroke. However, when aspirin is taken, the risk of experiencing a first stroke would be reduced. With proper control of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the chances of having stroke can also be reduced.
Warfarin on Atrial Fibrillation
When Coumadin is compared to aspirin, it shows more advantage for patients who have atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a condition characterized by irregular beating of the heart and can create blood clots from the heart, which causes heart attack or stroke. Studies show that warfarin can prevent recurrent episodes of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation compared to those who are on aspirin. Atrial fibrillation is also one of the common causes of stroke.
Aspirin vs Coumadin: Risks Involved
Patients on Coumadin have an increased risk of having hemorrhage. For this reason, patients on Coumadin therapy may need to have regular blood tests to monitor the patient’s blood clotting ability. Aspirin users may have lesser risks of hemorrhaging compared to Coumadin users but patients on aspirin tend to get bruised more easily. Aspirin can also be irritating to the stomach and is also a cause of ulcer development. For those who are allergic to drugs like aspirin and may need blood thinners, Coumadin can be their best choice.
Both Coumadin and aspirin are blood thinners that can help prevent recurrence of stroke. Your doctor should be the one to advise you which among these drugs will be best for your condition.