Coumadin is a brand name for warfarin, a blood thinner (anticoagulant) that prevents the formation of blood clots. Coumadin is available by physician prescription.
Anticoagulants like warfarin can help control the formation of blood clots. Warfarin does not “dissolve” already formed blood clots, but it can help the clot from getting bigger, and thus let the clot dissolve on its own.
Warfarin works by decreasing the types of proteins that allows blood to coagulate (clot).
Warfarin treats medical conditions such as thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, thromboembolism or pulmonary embolus, where clots can block blood vessels increasing the risk for heart attacks or strokes. Warfarin can also prevent harmful blood clots from migrating around the body possibly leading to fatal strokes or heart attacks.
Warfarin is also used for treatment during medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm), where the risk for developing harmful blood clots are high. Patients who have recently suffered from a heart attack or undergone surgery such as heart valve replacement may also be given warfarin to prevent harmful blood clot formation.
Coumadin is available in tablet form color coded according to dosage of warfarin.
Coumadin dosage will vary as per physician recommendation, age, severity of the condition and response to treatment.
Coumadin dosage can range from 1 mg to 10 mg once a day.
Coumadin can be taken either with or without meals.
It’s highly recommended that Coumadin be taken at the same time each day.
Do not take double doses of Coumadin. If a dose is forgotten and is not taken on time, re-take the dose within 8 hours. Otherwise, wait until the following day for the prescribed dose.
If doses are missed for two days, immediately consult a physician to change the prescription.
Keep track of Coumadin doses in a calendar to not miss one or overdose.
Take all prescribed doses of Coumadin for the drug to be effective against the condition being treated.
Warnings and Precautions
Warfarin can cause bleeding problems that can be fatal if not treated on time.
Coumadin is not recommended for patients at higher risk for bleeding out, such as the elderly aged 65 or older.
Coumadin is not safe for patients with the following conditions: hypertension, intestinal or stomach bleeding, history of stroke, serious heart disease, kidney problems, cancer, low blood count, suffered trauma such as an accident or surgery.
Coumadin is not safe to use with other medications that can increase the risk of bleeding, such as other anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and medications that contains heparin.
Do not take Coumadin if allergic to warfarin or other ingredients in the drug.
Do not take Coumadin if pregnant as it can increase the chance of miscarriage and birth defects. Coumadin is not prescribed in situations where the risk outweighs the benefits.
Some foods and beverages can interact negatively with Coumadin, such as green leafy vegetables that contain large amounts of Vitamin K, which reduces the effectiveness of warfarin.
Coumadin and warfarin could potentially cause one or more of the following side effects:
Pain and swelling
Heavier menstrual bleeding
Unusually colored urine or stools
Side effects are not limited to the above.
Immediately consult a physician if side effects continue to persist or worsen over time.