Are the new blood thinners better than warfarin (Coumadin)?

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Q. I have atrial fibrillation and currently take warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent a stroke. I haven't had any problems with it, but I wonder if I should switch to one of the newer blood thinners. Are there any advantages?

A. For about 50 years, warfarin was the only choice for people who needed to take an oral anticoagulant (blood thinner). While warfarin is inexpensive, it has its downsides. People who take it must regularly undergo a blood test, called an INR, to ensure they are getting the proper dose. A person's blood should be "thin" enough not to clot easily, but not so thin as to pose a high bleeding risk.

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