What you need to know on medications which prevent blood clotting
On medications which prevent blood clotting: If a person is taking a medicine to prevent formation of clot in the heart / blood vessels belonging to the group of warfarin (vitamin K antagonist), certain precautions are needed as its effect in the body can change even if you are taking the same dose every day. Here are some important points to note:
Regular monitoring of blood clotting function
While on this medication, a blood test known as PT-INR (Prothrombin Time with International Normalized Ratio) has to be checked regularly and dose of medicine adjusted by your doctor.
Precautions with diet
Avoid taking leafy vegetables as vitamin K in them can reduce the effectiveness of your medicine.
Have a regular diet pattern as several foods can interfere with the effect of these medications and INR values may become difficult to adjust.
Precautions with other medications
Avoid taking pain killers on your own as most pain killers can cause bleeding when taken along with your medication.
If you are consulting any other doctor for any ailment, please tell him that you are on this medication. This is because many medications can interact with this medicine and cause a change in its blood level.
Look out for bleeding manifestations
Watch for bleeding manifestations while on this medication: reddish or dark spots on the skin, passing blood in urine, motion or any other bleeding.
Dark coloured stools could be due to bleeding in the intestine and needs urgent attention.
An unusual or severe headache could be due to bleeding inside the head and needs urgent medical attention.
Any new painful swelling in or under the skin could also be due to bleeding inside.
If you become unusually pale, it could also be due to undetected bleeding somewhere in the body.
Precautions to prevent bleeding with blood thinners
Take special care while brushing your teeth and shaving as even minor injuries may bleed more.
Take special care while using sharp instruments.
Avoid activities which have the risk of falling or injury (e.g. Football).
Whenever dental extraction or any operation is planned, discuss with your doctor.
It will be ideal to have a card or tag indicating the medication with you always, in case of an emergency.
Longer period of observation will be needed after any fall or injury to exclude internal bleeding.
When this medication is to be avoided
This medication is not recommended in early and late pregnancy, discuss with your doctor.