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What should I know if I am taking a blood thinner?

If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin) or another blood thinner, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Tell your doctor about all other medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements. Before you start taking any new medication or supplement, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it interacts with Coumadin. For example, medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen magnify the effect of Coumadin. And some cold and allergy medications have stimulants that can cause a rapid heartbeat.
  • Take your medication as directed. If you miss a dose and you realize it the same day, take the dose then. If not, just take your normal dose the next day. Do not take twice as much.
  • Keep your blood test appointments. When you're taking a blood thinner, you'll have regular testing to check your clotting time, sometimes called prothrombin time/international normalized ratio (PT/INR) testing.
  • Avoid sudden changes in your diet. Especially, don't change your intake of foods rich in vitamin K, such as broccoli, lettuce and spinach.
  • Let doctors and dentists know you're taking a blood thinner. You may need to stop the medication temporarily before a medical procedure. Consider wearing an ID bracelet so medical workers know in an emergency.
  • Watch for symptoms that show you might be having a bad reaction. These include unusual bruises, a skin rash, nosebleeds or bleeding gums, or blood in your urine. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.