Anticoagulants (or “blood thinners”) are medicines that delay the clotting of blood. Two examples are heparin and warfarin (brand name COUMADIN). Anticoagulants make it harder for clots to form or keep existing clots from enlarging in your heart, veins or arteries. Treatment should be supervised, and it should last only as long as necessary.
• Follow your doctor’s (or other healthcare provider’s) instructions.
• Have regular blood tests so your doctor can tell how the medicine is working. This test is called an INR.
• Never take aspirin with anticoagulants unless your doctor tells you to.
• You must tell other healthcare providers that you’re taking anticoagulants.
• Always check with your doctor before taking other medications or food, supplements, such as aspirin, vitamins, cold medicine, pain medicine, sleeping pills or antibiotics. These can alter the effectiveness and safety of anticoagulants by strengthening or weakening them.
– Let your doctor know if you have been started on any new medications that might interfere with the action of warfarin.
• Discuss your diet with a healthcare professional as there are foods that interfere with these drugs.
• Tell your family how you take anticoagulant medicine and carry your emergency medical ID card with you.