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Coumadin

Why this Medication is Prescribed

Coumadin (Warfarin) is used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger. It is often prescribed for patients with certain types of irregular heartbeat and after a heart attack, stroke or heart valve replacement surgery. Coumadin works by stopping the formation of substances that cause clots. It can also lower the risk of another heart attack, stroke and possibly death. It lowers the risk of clots moving into other parts of the body.

If you are taking Coumadin or another blood thinning agent, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully. While it is one of today’s most important treatments, it has the potential for serious reactions with other drugs and side effects if taken incorrectly. Below are some guidelines to follow. Remember, these guidelines do not contain every possible problem so consult with your doctor:

  • any time you have a question regarding the use of this medication,
  • any time you are considering taking another drug, including over the counter medications, and
  • any time you experience a side affect or a symptom you question.

Taking Your Coumadin

Coumadin comes as a tablet to be taken by mouth. It is usually taken once a day.

DO take your medicine at the same time every day. If you forget to take your Coumadin, take it as soon as you remember on the same day.

DO NOT take a double dose. This can increase the risk of bleeding. Record the date of the missed dose and tell your doctor at the next visit, since missing a dose may alter your blood clotting tests. If you miss two or more days, call your doctor immediately.

Take a regular blood test (Prothrombin time) to see how your blood is clotting. This test is usually ordered by your doctor.

Tell your doctor if you become pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breast feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Coumadin, call your doctor.

If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking Coumadin.

Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking Coumadin before your procedure.

Ask your doctor about the use of alcohol while you are taking Coumadin.