National Blood Clot Alliance Symposium Explores the Role of Adherence in Effective Anticoagulation Management

Tarrytown, NY – May 31, 2013 – At a symposium held by the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) earlier this month, the role of adherence in the use of blood thinning medication (anticoagulation management) was explored by a multidisciplinary group of physicians, patients, pharmacists, nurses, and other related experts. 

VisithanThe primary objective of this NBCA symposium, an affiliate meeting of the AC Forum’s 12th National Conference on Anticoagulation Therapy, was to engage key opinion leaders in anticoagulation (AC) management, as well as thought leaders in the field of medication adherence, to analyze and suggest practical, evidence-based recommendations and tools to optimize AC adherence among patients affected by atrial fibrillation (AF) and patients affected by venous thromboembolism (VTE).   AF patients are at increased risk of clot-provoked stroke, and VTE patients can develop life-threatening blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis – DVT) and lungs (pulmonary embolism – PE).

“The availability of new oral anticoagulants, which do not require laboratory monitoring and dose adjustment, raise new issues of adherence that must be addressed,” explains Jack Ansell, MD, chair of NBCA’s Medical & Scientific Advisory Board (MASAB), who served as co-chair of NBCA’s adherence symposium.  “It’s important for us to examine and better understand how issues related to adherence can be managed to help ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes with these newer therapies.”

During the symposium, several key topics related to adherence were addressed by symposium faculty members, including: 

“The proceedings of this symposium made clear that many factors combine to create a dynamic challenge for healthcare professionals and patients alike,” said symposium co-chair Gary Raskob, PhD, Dean, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and incoming Chair of NBCA’s MASAB.  “As our population ages and the incidence of blood clots and AF cases increase, our goal should be to achieve optimal outcomes that benefit the patient and minimize the public health burden of morbidity and mortality related to blood clots that cause stroke and blood clots connected to VTE.”

Working Groups Address Key Questions, Next Steps

Attendee QuestionDuring the course of the symposium, two separate working groups also were held to gather feedback from all participants about key questions related to adherence for patients affected by atrial fibrillation and also for those affected by venous thromboembolism. 

“Adherence is a complex matter that requires careful consideration,” says Margaret Fang, MD, MPH, Medical Director, University of California, San Francisco, Anticoagulation Clinic, who presented about the factors that influence adherence in a real world setting and who also led one of the symposium working groups.  “Several risk factors for lesser adherence have been identified in patients taking anticoagulants, including, for example, poor communication and perceptions of drug risk.   However, it is not yet clear what interventions may have the greatest impact for improvement.”

Also at the meeting were Scott Kaatz, DO, MSc, FACP, Chief Quality Officer, Hurley Medical Center, who ran the symposium working group focused on DVT and PE, and Alan Brownstein, MPH, NBCA CEO, who presented the next steps associated with this overall program.

“The feedback we received at this symposium will be captured in symposium proceedings that will be made available on NBCA’s website in the very near future, explained Brownstein.  “Longer term, NBCA will use the information gathered at this meeting to develop screening and education tools that will undergo impact evaluations with select AC Forum clinics prior to final refinements and wider spread distribution and use.  We also intend to further our advocacy efforts in this arena relative to reimbursement and the Affordable Care Act.”

FangNBCA anticipates that the outcome of these efforts will contribute to improved dialogue about important issues in AC management, particularly in light of the expanding spectrum of treatment in the care of AF and VTE. 

Working on behalf of a broad array of people who may be susceptible to blood clots, NBCA advances prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of blood clots, clotting disorders and clot-provoked strokes through public awareness building, patient and healthcare professional education and supportive public and private sector policy promotion.

This symposium – entitled Effective AC Management: Focus on Promoting and Simplifying Adherence –

was held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Phoenix, AZ, and made possible through sponsorship support from Platinum Sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim and Gold Sponsor Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

For questions contact Alan Brownstein at 917.209.2000 phone or by email at:

Click here to review the signs and symptoms of DVT/PE.

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