Certain types of blood thinners increase the risk of joint wear. Researchers at Erasmus MC advise doctors to examine with their patients whether it is possible to switch to other blood thinners.
For the first time, research has shown that vitamin K influences the degree of osteoarthritis. Certain blood thinners inhibit the amount of vitamin K in the body. Taking these medicines increases the risk of wear and tear 2.5 times. Vitamin K is necessary to keep the cartilage in joints supple. The degree of osteoarthritis is also more severe in people taking these blood thinners. The osteoarthritis can even be so severe that a new joint is necessary. Researcher Cindy Boer indicates that you naturally want to postpone this for as long as possible.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that can cause a lot of pain. In the Netherlands, about one million people suffer from osteoarthritis. For this, patients receive pain medication, physiotherapy or eventually a new joint. Hip and knee joints in particular are frequently replaced.
Change of medications
244,000 people take blood thinners that make these complaints worse. Other blood thinners have been on the market for several years. These do not inhibit the presence of vitamin K. Mainly the older patients still take the old blood thinners. This is because changing medications can sometimes be very difficult. Still, the researchers advise looking at the possibility of switching drugs. Although it is of course never possible to say whether patients would not have developed osteoarthritis if they had not taken the blood thinners. Joint wear and tear is also a natural aging process. The drugs only increase the risk of joint wear.
Research on vitamin K in osteoarthritis
The scientists now want to investigate whether taking vitamin K can help against osteoarthritis. In America, blood thinners that inhibit vitamin K are administered after a joint replacement. According to the research, this is therefore not useful at all. Cindy Boer hopes that vitamin K can be used to slow down or even counteract osteoarthritis.
40-60 percent of the elderly have a vitamin K deficiency. Boer immediately indicates that many more factors play a role in osteoarthritis, such as genes, overweight and inactivity.