Joe Biden’s doctor said Friday he has stopped heart medications for Biden’s atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol due to his prescribing Paxlovid to treat Biden’s COVID infection. Atrial fibrillation can cause strokes and is treated by blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke-causing blood clots being formed. Biden,79, had brain surgery in 1988 after suffering two brain aneurysms. Biden has been in cognitive decline in recent and even without a stroke a bout with COVID could accelerate the decline with COVID-related brain fog or “Long COVID”, impairing Biden’s “executive function” ability.
Then-Vice President Biden with his personal physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, D.O., Obama White House photo by David Lieneman.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, 52, the Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate, suffered a debilitating stroke due to untreated atrial fibrillation this year that knocked him off the campaign trail for the past two months. Fetterman has not yet fully recovered and has largely avoided public appearances.
Biden’s personal physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, D.O., said in the statement issued Friday Biden’s heart medications are being stopped for the duration of his course of Paxlovid and for several days after. O’Connor indicated Biden would be given low-dose aspirin as an alternative, however that could aggravate Biden’s acid reflux.
“His apixaban (ELIQUIS) and rosuvastatin (Crestor) are being held during PAXLOVID treatment and for several days after his last dose. During this time, it is reasonable to add low dose aspirin as an alternative type of blood thinner.”
The New York Post is about the only news outlet to question O’Connor’s treatment of Biden (excerpt):
…Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said at a press briefing that it’s “very standard” to discontinue the medications during a five-day regimen of the antiviral Paxlovid.
Medical experts had expressed concern about Biden’s use of blood thinner Eliquis to treat atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat condition, while he takes Paxlovid. Biden also takes Crestor to lower his cholesterol.
Jha didn’t address the fact that the Food and Drug Administration specifically warns that “premature discontinuation of any oral anticoagulant, including Eliquis, increases the risk of thrombotic events,” meaning blood clots.
In 1988, Biden survived two brain aneurysms, which blood clots can cause. The drug Eliquis is marketed to lower the risk of stroke and clots for people who have atrial fibrillation.
…Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Eli Gelfand, a cardiologist, told The Post that “generally in patients who take Eliquis and are prescribed Paxlovid, the dose of Eliquis is reduced by half or the drug is temporarily held altogether.”
Gelfand, who also serves as section chief for general cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, said that “whether to reduce the dose or hold Eliquis depends on the initial indication for Eliquis therapy.”
“The interaction between Paxlovid and Eliquis typically lasts for approximately eight days, meaning that the Eliquis is dose-reduced or held for three additional days after Paxlovid course is complete,” Gelfand added.
The issue of stopping the blood thinner only came up once in Thursday’s White House briefing but the word ‘stroke’ was not mentione:
Q And has the President had to halt any of his regular medications now that he’s taking Paxlovid? And what are you doing to mitigate the risk from halting those medications?
DR. JHA: Yeah, so this is a — I had a conversation with — about this with Dr. O’Connor. There are two medicines. He’s on Eliquis and Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering medicine and a blood thinner for his atrial fibrillation, both of which need to be stopped when you take Paxlovid. It’s a very standard, common thing that we do when we give people Paxlovid. And you don’t need to do anything in those circumstances. They both get stopped for the five days that he’s on Paxlovid, and then they get restarted. And it’s totally fine and pretty normal practice.
In an appearance on NBC’s Today Show Friday morning, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha downplayed the stroke risk for Biden.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. @ashishkjha joins TODAY to discuss President Biden’s current condition after testing positive for COVID. He says the President told him he was “feeling just fine” on a phone call last night. pic.twitter.com/7DHQqztVxQ
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 22, 2022
Jha also said Biden did not have a fever which was contradicted by O’Connor’s letter Friday morning that said Biden had a fever of 99.4 that was treated with Tylenol.