The B-SAFE Campaign encourages patients to know the medications they are taking and to know why they are taking them. What is Coumadin®/warfarin? Coumadin® is the most frequently used blood thinning medication on the market. Warfarin is the generic name and Coumadin® is the brand name product.
What does Coumadin®/warfarin do for you?
Coumadin®/warfarin is used to help prevent harmful blood clots from forming in the body. When you get injured, your body’s clotting system causes certain blood proteins (called clotting factors) to work together to form a clot. Some people refer to medications like Coumadin®/warfarin as “blood thinners,” but these medications do not actually change the thickness of your blood. Instead, Coumadin®/warfarin slows down the formation of clots by lowering some of the clotting factors in your blood.
Not all clots are bad. When you cut yourself, your body forms a clot to stop bleeding. Unfortunately, harmful blood clots are frequent in patients who have diseases of the blood vessels, heart or are limited in their mobility. Harmful blood clots can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots in the lungs, and other serious medical problems. Coumadin®/warfarin helps reduce the likelihood of these outcomes by limiting the body’s ability to form blood clots.
BRING a list of all your medications
BRING a list of all your medications with you wherever you go:
Many medications can interact with Coumadin®/warfarin, therefore it is important to have a complete medication list to present to your healthcare provider. Make sure that your medication list is:
Includes everything that you take, including overthe-counter medications as well as vitamins,
seasonal medication, and herbal supplements
Includes the reasons why you are taking each medication
STANDARD dose, time, and monitoring
Medication use should be standard and consistent.
Know your Coumadin®/warfarin dosage, as prescribed by your doctor
Take your Coumadin®/warfarin at the same time each day
If you miss a dose, contact your doctor
Complete INR/PT blood testing as scheduled
Know the side effects of Coumadin®/ warfarin, as well as other medications and supplements that can interact with it. Bleeding is the main side effect of Coumadin®/ warfarin.
Talk to your healthcare provider, doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medications
including over-the-counter medications as well as vitamins, seasonal medication, and herbal supplements
Talk to your healthcare provider or doctor about your eating habits. Some foods, such as leafy greens, may cause harmful interactions
FALL and injury precautions
Internal bleeding can result from falls and injuries while on Coumadin®/ warfarin. Seek medical attention immediately if you:
Bump your head
EVALUATE and EXAMINE:
While on Coumadin®/warfarin, seek medicalattention immediately if you notice:
Any unusual bruising or bleeding
Changes in your stools (e.g. dark stools)
Experience difficulty in breathing