Identification cards for patients on anticoagulation therapy

Mark Crowther

Should patients receiving anticoagulation treatment carry a special identification card?

Mark Crowther, MD: Good question. It really depends on the patient and how likely the patient is going to present to the emergency department and be unable to report that.

If you have an elderly patient who is on 8 medications and she has trouble remembering what they are, then having some kind of identity statement, medical alert bracelet, some other record is probably very useful. Patients do not think about many of these newer drugs as being anticoagulant—everybody knows that warfarin, phenprocoumon, or acenocoumarol are anticoagulants because they are rat poison. But patients do not know that dabigatran, apixaban, or rivaroxaban are blood thinners. So I think if the patient has got many medications and their memory is maybe not that good, it is very useful.

I think if you have a young man or woman who is only on 1 blood thinner, who just had an episode of blood clots and is very unlikely to not be able to report that they are on that drug, I do not think it is necessary.

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