What you need to know on medications which prevent blood clotting

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.