How Effective Is Coumadin?

How Effective Is Coumadin?

There are a lot of medications out there that help you in a variety of ways—and Coumadin is one of them. This drug helps to prevent conditions like blood clots that sometimes lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

Our team at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants gives you the treatments and medications you need to reduce your risk of life-altering medical conditions. Dr. Erick Calderon is our board-certified cardiologist who recommends Coumadin as a blood thinner when you’re at risk for certain conditions. But like any drug, Coumadin has its side effects and limits. Find out more about Coumadin below.

How coumadin works

Coumadin is a type of anticoagulant, which means it’s a drug that helps to thin out your blood. Coumadin, which also goes by the name Warfarin, is usually taken in oral tablet form. So how do anticoagulants work?

When you cut yourself, your body recognizes that there’s a problem and specialized clotting factors rush to help clot your blood quickly. But sometimes, certain conditions and lifestyle habits can cause your blood to clot more frequently. 

Coumadin decreases your body’s ability to form clots. Your body’s clotting process is very complex, so Coumadin targets the vitamin K factors.

Vitamin K is an important part of your body’s clotting process. It helps to form clots to prevent bleeding from a cut or injury. Coumadin blocks vitamin K factors, which prevents too many dangerous clots from forming. This may help prevent several dangerous conditions like:

Dr. Calderon also prescribes this drug if you’re suffering from atrial fibrillation, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. If you’ve had a heart valve replaced, Coumadin may also help prevent the formation of clots after surgery.

Is Coumadin really effective?

Once you’re on Coumadin, it’s very important that you take it as prescribed by Dr. Calderon. This medication is extremely dangerous if not taken correctly, so making sure you’re on an effective dose is vital to your safety.

The most obvious way that you know your Coumadin dose is optimal is if you don’t end up with blood clots or a heart attack. However, this could be due to other lifestyle modifications. So how can Dr. Calderon determine if the Coumadin is really working?

Blood tests are the gold standard in monitoring the effectiveness of anticoagulants like Coumadin. They’re needed because too much of this drug in your system may cause a dangerous amount of bleeding. On the other hand, if your levels aren’t high enough, your blood is more prone to dangerous clots.

Dr. Calderon performs regular blood tests to monitor the effectiveness of the dose of Coumadin you’re on. The blood test is called a prothrombin time test, or protime. However, your result comes in the form of an INR, which is also known as the International Normalized Ratio. 

If your INR is higher than it should be, Dr. Calderon may need to increase the dose of your Coumadin. If the blood test shows that your INR is on the low side, Dr. Calderon decreases your dose.

It’s very important that you get your levels checked on a regular basis to determine if your dosing is effective. Although Coumadin is very effective when taken correctly, other factors may affect the clotting times in your blood.

If you're on Coumadin and you have questions about its effectiveness, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Calderon at our office in Sarasota County, Florida. You can also reach out and request an appointment online.

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