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Warfarin

Warfarin

What is warfarin?

Warfarin is a prescription drug. It comes only as a tablet you take by mouth.

Warfarin oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Coumadin and Jantoven. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.

Why it's used

Warfarin is used to treat blood clots and to lower the chance of blood clots forming in your body. Blood clots can cause a stroke, heart attack, or other serious conditions if they form in your legs or lungs.

Warfarin is used to:

  • reduce the risk of risk of heart attack, stroke, or death
  • prevent and treat blood clots with atrial fibrillation or heart valve replacement
  • prevent and treat blood clots in parts of the body such as the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

What side effects can this medication cause?

  • gas
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • change in the way things taste
  • loss of hair
  • feeling cold or having chills

How should I take warfarin?

Take warfarin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not take warfarin in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than your doctor tells you to.

Take warfarin at the same time every day, with or without food. Never take a double dose.

Warfarin can make it easier for you to bleed. Seek emergency help if you have any bleeding that will not stop.

You will need frequent "INR" or prothrombin time tests (to measure your blood-clotting time and determine your warfarin dose). You must remain under the care of a doctor while taking this medicine.

If you receive warfarin in a hospital, call or visit your doctor 3 to 7 days after you leave the hospital. Your INR will need to be tested at that time. Do not miss any follow-up appointments.

When is warfarin prescribed?

You might be given warfarin if you have:

  • A blood clot in or near your heart that could trigger stroke, heart attack or organ damage
  • A blood clot in your lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • A blood clot elsewhere in your body (venous thrombosis)
  • A high risk of blood clots forming in the heart, which can be a complication of some heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias)
  • A mechanical artificial heart valve that is prone to forming blood clots
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