The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Applied Therapeutics, Research, and Instruction at the University of Maryland (ATRIUM) Cardiology Collaborative has launched a mobile application (app) that helps guide health care professionals in selecting and dosing the most appropriate oral blood thinners, or anticoagulant, medication for patients. Available to download at no cost for Android and iOS devices, the ATRIUM Anticoagulation Tool offers personalized dosing recommendations for a new class of anticoagulants known as direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs), as well as traditional anticoagulants such as warfarin.
“Several new anticoagulants have come on the market in recent years, and each of these agents has different dosing recommendations based on the condition it will be used to treat and other variables unique to the individual patient,” says Kristin Watson, PharmD, BCCP, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and member of the ATRIUM Cardiology Collaborative. “It is a complicated process, and failure to use the correct dose can result in harm to the patient. Our application guides clinicians in selecting the right dose based on a patient’s unique medical history and condition, which translates into helping us achieve the best outcomes for those patients.”
Anticoagulants help treat existing blood clots as well as prevent new clots from forming. These medications are used in the treatment of conditions such as atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, and deep vein thrombosis. Traditional anticoagulants, such as warfarin and heparin, are effective in treating these conditions, but require regular monitoring to help prevent bleeding. Introduced in 2011, DOACs have been shown to be just as effective as traditional anticoagulants in treating and preventing blood clots, require less monitoring, and begin working faster than the older medications.
The ATRIUM Anticoagulation Tool includes a menu of diseases that these medications are often used to treat. After selecting the condition for which the medication will be used, health care professionals enter information about the patient, including his/her age and kidney function. Based on the information entered by the clinician, the app provides options and dosing recommendations for the anticoagulants that may work best for the patient. It can provide information and dosing recommendations for both traditional anticoagulants and newer DOAC medications.
“Our goal is to give health care professionals a tool that can help guide them in their decision-making process,” says Watson. “This app is a resource that provides clinicians with a starting point from which they can work to determine which agent might be the most appropriate and its suggested dosing. Ultimately, it is up to the clinician to make the decision about what medication is best for their patient.”
“We believe that this app will be immensely useful in facilitating quick decision-making by physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals,” adds Vijay Ivaturi, PhD, assistant professor in PPS and pharmacometrician in the Center for Translational Medicine at the School of Pharmacy, who collaborated with the ATRIUM Cardiology Collaborative to develop the app. “In the future, we plan to integrate the app into a broader clinical decision support system that will allow clinicians to make dosing recommendations ‘on the fly’ for patients who need it most.”