, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 656-664,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Mar 2009

Genetic Testing Before Anticoagulation? A Systematic Review of Pharmacogenetic Dosing of Warfarin

Abstract

Background

Genotype-guided initial warfarin dosing may reduce over-anticoagulation and serious bleeding compared to a one-dose-fits-all dosing method.

Objective

The objective of this review was to investigate the safety and efficacy of genotype-guided dosing of warfarin in reducing the occurrence of serious bleeding events and over-anticoagulation.

Data Sources

The authors searched PubMed, EMBASE and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts through January 23, 2009, without language restrictions. Selected articles were randomized trials comparing pharmacogenetic dosing of warfarin versus a “standard” dose control algorithm in adult patients taking warfarin for the first time.

Review Methods

Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality using a validated instrument. The primary outcomes were major bleeding and time spent within the therapeutic range International Normalized Ratio (INR). Secondary outcomes included minor bleeding, thrombotic events and other measures of anticoagulation quality.

Results

Three of 2,014 studies (423 patients) met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Differences in study quality, dosing algorithms, length of follow-up and outcome measures limited meta-analysis. Summary estimates revealed no statistically significant difference in bleeding rates or time within the therapeutic range INR. The highest quality study found no significant difference in primary or secondary outcomes, although there was a trend towards more rapid achievement of a stable dose (14.1 vs. 19.6 days, p = 0.07) in the pharmocogenetic arm.

Conclusions

We did not find sufficient evidence to support the use of pharmacogenetics to guide warfarin therapy. Additional clinical trials are needed to define the optimal approach to use warfarin pharmacogenetics in clinical practice.

None of the authors has any conflicts of interest to disclose. At the time the review was conducted, Dr. Kangelaris was supported by the National Research Service Award Institutional Grant (T32 HP19025). Findings were presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine meeting on April 10, 2008.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-009-1081-y