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Taking warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) - what to ask your doctor

Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) is a medicine that helps keep your blood from clotting. This drug may be important if you have already had blood clots, or if your doctor is worried that you may form a blood clot.

Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you when you take warfarin.

Questions

Why am I taking warfarin?

  • What is a blood thinner?
  • How does it work?
  • Are there alternative blood thinners I could use?

What will be changed for me?

  • How much bruising or bleeding should I expect?
  • Are there exercises, sports activities, or other activities that are not safe for me?
  • What should I do differently at school or work?

How should I take warfarin?

  • Do I take it every day? Will it be the same dosage? What time of the day should I take it?
  • How can I tell the different warfarin pills apart?
  • What should I do if I am late for a dose? What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
  • How long will I need to take the warfarin?

Can I still take acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)? What about other pain medicines? How about cold medicines? What should I do if a doctor gives me a new prescription?

Do I need to make any changes in what I eat or drink? Can I drink alcohol?

What should I do if I fall? Are there changes I should make around the home?

What are the signs or symptoms that I may be bleeding somewhere in my body?

Do I need any blood tests? Where do I get them? How often?

Alternative Names

Warfarin - what to ask your doctor; Coumadin - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about taking warfarin (Coumadin); Jantoven - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about taking warfarin (Jantoven)

References

Aronson JK. Coumarin anticoagulants. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:702-737.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Coumadin (warfarin sodium) Information. Updated September 2016. Bmsmedinfo.com web site. www.bmsmedinfo.com/coumadin_warfarin-sodium_medical_information. Accessed February 8, 2017.

Jaffer IH, Weitz JI. Antithrombotic therapy. In: Cronenwett JL, Johnston KW, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 35.

Review Date 1/14/2017

Updated by: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology and Health Care Ethics, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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