This medication is used to treat blood clots (such as in deep vein thrombosis-DVT or pulmonary embolus-PE) and/or to prevent new clots from forming in your body. Preventing harmful blood clots helps to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Conditions that increase your risk of developing blood clots include a certain type of irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), heart valve replacement, recent heart attack, and certain surgeries (such as hip/knee replacement).
Warfarin is commonly called a "blood thinner," but the more correct term is "anticoagulant." It helps to keep blood flowing smoothly in your body by decreasing the amount of certain substances (clotting proteins) in your blood.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor or other health care professional, usually once a day. It is very important to take it exactly as directed. Do not increase the dose, take it more frequently, or stop using it unless directed by your doctor.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, laboratory tests (such as INR), and response to treatment. Your doctor or other health care provider will monitor you closely while you are taking this medication to determine the right dose for you.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
It is important to eat a balanced, consistent diet while taking warfarin. Some foods can affect how warfarin works in your body and may affect your treatment and dose. Avoid sudden large increases or decreases in your intake of foods high in vitamin K (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables, liver, green tea, certain vitamin supplements). If you are trying to lose weight, check with your doctor before you try to go on a diet.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.
Before taking warfarin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (such as anemia, hemophilia), bleeding problems (such as bleeding of the stomach/intestines, bleeding in the brain), blood vessel disorders (such as aneurysms), recent major injury/surgery, kidney disease, liver disease, alcohol use, mental/mood disorders (including memory problems), frequent falls/injuries.
It is important that all your doctors and dentists know that you take warfarin. Before having surgery or any medical/dental procedures, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication and about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach/abdominal pain may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of serious bleeding, including: unusual pain/swelling/discomfort, unusual/easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums, persistent/frequent nosebleeds, unusually heavy/prolonged menstrual flow, pink/dark urine, coughing up blood, vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, severe headache, dizziness/fainting, unusual or persistent tiredness/weakness, bloody/black/tarry stools, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin.
What should I do if I miss a dose of warfarin?
For the best possible benefit, do not miss any doses. If you do miss a dose and remember on the same day, take it as soon as you remember. If you remember on the next day, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up because this could increase your risk for bleeding. Keep a record of missed doses to give to your doctor or pharmacist. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you miss 2 or more doses in a row.
How shoudl I store warfarin?
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.