The Particulars: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) often have comorbid cardiovascular disease that prompts the need for long-term exposure to both warfarin and antiplatelet agents. It has yet to be determined if overuse of anticoagulants among these patients can increase risks for developing dementia.

Data Breakdown: More than 1,000 patients with AF who were on warfarin therapy and antiplatelet treatment participated in a study. Patients were classified as using out-of-range anticoagulation if their International Normalized Ratio (INR) was higher than 3 more than 25% of the time. Patients using out-of-range anticoagulation had about a 6% risk of developing dementia during an average of 4 years. Those using out-of-range anticoagulation less than 10% of the time had a 4-year dementia risk of almost 3%.

Take Home Pearls: Overtreatment of patients with AF with out-of-range anticoagulation appears to slightly increase the risk for dementia. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between anticoagulation and dementia risk.