What is warfarin?

Generic name: warfarin (oral drug)

Brand names: Coumadin, Jantoven

Warfarin is an anticoagulant or blood thinner which helps to reduce the formation of blood clots in arteries or veins. This drug reduces the risk of getting the stroke, heart attack or any other serious conditions that are caused due to the blood clots.

What is the important information you should know about warfarin?

It is not recommended to take warfarin if you have to bleed because of any medical condition, or if you want to undergo any future surgery, or you need a spinal tap or epidural. Do not take warfarin if you cannot take it on regular time daily. Warfarin increases the risks of having severed or fatal bleeding, when you have certain medical conditions or if you are 65+ years old or if you have a stroke or bleeding in stomach or intestines. Immediately seek the medical attention if you have any bleeding that is unstoppable.

Immediately call your doctor if you experience any other signs of bleeding such as swelling, feeling weak or dizzy, pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding, blood in urine, bloody or tarry stools, vomits that look like the coffee grounds, blood while coughing. If you are in use of other drugs the combination of certain drugs with warfarin causes the risks of bleeding. It is better to tell your doctor about your complete drug usage history before using warfarin.

Avoid making changes in your regular diet before consulting your doctor because some of the foods make the warfarin less effective.

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What should you know before taking this medicine?

Avoid taking warfarin if you are allergic to:

  • you have very high blood pressure;
  • you recently had or will have surgery on your brain, spine, or eye;
  • you undergo a spinal tap or spinal anesthesia (epidural); or
  • you cannot take warfarin on time every day.

Stop taking warfarin if you are prone to bleeding because of certain medical conditions such as:

  • a blood cell disorder (such as low red blood cells or low platelets);
  • ulcers or bleeding in your stomach, intestines, lungs, or urinary tract;
  • an aneurysm or bleeding in the brain; or
  • an infection of the lining of your heart.

If you are pregnant avoid taking warfarin unless your doctor prescribes you. Because warfarin can cause severe birth defects in the baby. If you are not pregnant use effective birth control pills to avoid pregnancy while you are taking warfarin.

Warfarin can make you bleed more easily, especially if you have ever had:

  • high blood pressure or serious heart disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • cancer or low blood cell counts;
  • an accident or surgery;
  • bleeding in your stomach or intestines;
  • a stroke; or
  • if you are 65 or older.

Take warfarin exactly as prescribed by your doctor and follow the directions carefully that are prescribed on the label. The doctor may occasionally change the dose of warfarin, do not take the same less or high dose of warfarin for the long time than your doctor prescribed. Take warfarin same time every day with or without food. Do not take the double dose. Take the missed dose as soon as possible when you remember.

What are the side effects of warfarin?

  • a sudden headache, feeling very weak or dizzy;
  • swelling, pain, unusual bruising;
  • bleeding gums, nosebleeds;
  • bleeding from wounds or needle injections that will not stop;
  • heavy menstrual periods or abnormal vaginal bleeding;
  • blood in your urine, bloody or tarry stools; or
  • Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Clots formed by warfarin may block normal blood flow, which could lead to tissue death or amputation of the affected body part. Get medical help at once if you have:

  • pain, swelling, hot or cold feeling, skin changes, or discoloration anywhere on your body; or
  • Sudden and severe leg or foot pain, foot ulcer, purple toes or fingers.
  • Bleeding is the most common side effect of warfarin

Warfarin manufacturer: Manufacturer: BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB.