What you need to know 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
- 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. Foot ball).
- 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.