Saturday 15 August 2020

Doctors to prescribe blood thinners to at-risk Covid-19 patients

Illustration: Depositphotos.com

Family doctors are going to prescribe daily doses of blood thinning medication to people who have or are thought to have coronavirus and who have a (family) history of thrombosis, as well as cancer patients, broadcaster NOS reports.

The new Dutch protocol is the first in Europe to enable doctors to prescribe preventative treatment and is aimed at preventing the serious complications which can occur in people belonging to these high-risk groups, family doctor and UMC Utrecht researcher Geert-Jan Geersing, who co-wrote the guideline, said.

Some 150,000 to 200,000 a year people fall into the category. The blood thinners will only be prescribed if the patient has or is thought to have the virus. Many Covid-19 sufferers develop life-threatening clots and in intensive care, 50% of patients have thrombosis. Early treatment may prevent this complication and possibly a stay in hospital, doctors hope.

‘There is much we don’t know about the effects of coronavirus on the body. But we know there is a clear link with thrombosis, and we think family doctors can play their part in preventing it,’ Geersing said.

The type of blood thinning medication administered to people at risk of thrombosis is different from the type people with heart problems take. One such difference is that the former are injected with the medication while the latter usually take a pill, such as aspirin. Researchers are currently finding out  if the preventative prescription of blood thinners to this group can be effective as well, NOS said.

More research into the link betweenCovid-19 and thrombosis is ongoing.

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