Warfarin and Coumadin precautions

Five things you need to know when taking anticoagulants

Anticoagulants like Coumadin or Jantoven are prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots.

People taking anticoagulants like Coumadin or Jantoven need to stay in close contact with their healthcare providers.

Many things factor into an individual’s international normalized ratio or INR, which is a measurement of the time it takes for a person’s blood to clot. A patient’s INR must be closely monitored when taking warfarin, also known as Coumadin or Jantoven, so it’s important to stay in close contact with your healthcare provider to avoid dangers associated with taking anticoagulant meds.

5 important warfarin and Coumadin precautions you should take:

  1. Call your healthcare provider if you get sick (including diarrhea, nausea or vomiting).
  2. Call your healthcare provider if you start or stop taking any medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.
  3. Notify your healthcare provider if your diet has changed recently, especially if your consumption of green, leafy vegetables or alcohol has changed.
  4. Get all medications from the same pharmacy to avoid the possibility of harmful drug interactions.
  5. Notify your healthcare provider if you forget to take a dose of your warfarin.

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Important anticoagulant precautions

Vitamin K and aspirin can have a critical impact on blood-thinning meds

Blood measuring 450x320

Blood-thinning medications can be impacted by vitamin K and aspirin-containing products.

The formation of a clot in the body is a complex process that involves multiple substances called “clotting factors.” Clotting factors are proteins made in the liver. Some of these proteins, however, cannot be created without vitamin K, a common vitamin found in:

  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • spinach
  • other leafy green vegetables

Because anticoagulants such as warfarin (also known as Coumadin® or Jantoven®) slow clot formation by competing with vitamin K, it’s important to maintain a consistent daily intake of vitamin K and to be aware of anticoagulant precautions. Each person’s warfarin dosage is related to the amount of vitamin K in his or her body. If you overload your system with vitamin K, you override the effectiveness of the blood-thinning medication. Continue reading

Who takes warfarin?

Medication prescribed to prevent blood clots in A-fib patients and others

Anticoagulants like Coumadin or Jantoven are prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Anticoagulants like Coumadin or Jantoven are prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots.

If you’re taking warfarin, also known as Coumadin® or Jantoven®, your doctor has prescribed this anticoagulation medication to prevent the formation of harmful blood clots or to treat an existing blood clot. Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a common condition for taking warfarin because the risk of stroke is higher in A-fib patients.

The American Heart Association reports that more than two million Americans have atrial fibrillation, a rhythmic disorder of the heart where the atria (the heart’s pumping chambers) quiver instead of beat. As a result, some blood remains in the heart instead of being pumped out, allowing pools to collect in the heart chamber, where clots may form. These clots can travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

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Warfarin side effects: What you need to know

Jantoven and Coumadin side effects can be minor or serious

rowofbottlesandpillsAnticoagulation medications require monitoring and lifestyle adjustments, but they can be effectively and safely managed, says Elizabeth Renner, clinical pharmacist at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Medicine department. “As soon as you start taking a medication that affects clotting, you need to be on the lookout for potential side effects,” Renner says. When taking warfarin, also known as Coumadin® or Jantoven®, “some patients develop side effects early in the course of treatment and some later.” Others, she says, don’t experience any side effects at all.

Be aware of minor warfarin side effects

A patient may experience minor symptoms as a result of anticoagulation medications. If you do experience any of these, says Renner, you may need to have your INR (international normalized ratio) checked to make sure there are no underlying problems. Minor symptoms include:

  • Gums bleeding while brushing your teeth
  • Occasional nosebleed
  • Easy bruising
  • Prolonged bleeding after a minor cut
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding

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