Who Needs to Take Coumadin®?

If you have a blood clotting disorder, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or another condition that increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, you’ve probably heard of Coumadin® before. Doctors often prescribe this medication to reduce the risk of potentially fatal cardiovascular events in high-risk people — but what does it do exactly? And who should take it? 

Here, Dr. Erick Calderon, board-certified cardiologist at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants, answers all your questions about Coumadin.

What is Coumadin? 

Coumadin is a blood-thinning drug. Often called warfarin (the generic drug name), Coumadin prevents blood clots from forming in your blood vessels. It also keeps existing blood clots from growing. Coumadin’s anticoagulant properties help blood flow more easily throughout your body, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

How does Coumadin work?

Coumadin interacts with vitamin K in your body. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, but in some people, too much of it can cause problems because it acts as a coagulant — that is, it helps your blood clot to prevent excessive or dangerous bleeding. 

To serve its purpose as a coagulant, vitamin K utilizes vitamin K-dependent clotting factors (clotting factors that require vitamin K’s presence to work). Coumadin blocks vitamin K from reaching these clotting factors, thereby reducing the ability of your blood to clot. 

Who should take Coumadin?

No one should take Coumadin or any generic or other brand name of this blood-thinning medication unless it is prescribed by their health care professional. Doctors often prescribe Coumadin for the prevention and treatment of: 

Coumadin is sometimes used for health conditions other than those on the list, but it’s up to your doctor to decide if Coumadin is right for you. 

Potential risks of Coumadin

Taking Coumadin without a prescription or differently than the way your doctor prescribed can result in serious complications and side effects. Most risks of Coumadin are related to excessive bleeding. If you take Coumadin and notice unusual bleeding or bruising, contact your doctor right away. Signs and symptoms of Coumadin complications include: 

If you have any additional questions about Coumadin or heart health, call Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants at 941-404-7958 or send a message to our team through our secure messaging platform. To schedule an appointment, give us a call or book online.

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