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Coumadin - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Coumadin: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Coumadin?

Coumadin is the trade name for the drug warfarin. It is an anticoagulant, also known as a blood thinner. It is a misnomer, as warfarin does not lower the viscosity of the blood. It is a medication that inhibits the synthesis of clotting factors Ⅱ, Ⅶ, Ⅸ, Ⅹ, and regulatory factors protein C and protein S. These factors depend on vitamin K for their activation. Coumadin reduces the availability of vitamin K for these factors. Its effects are seen only after a few days, when the body’s vitamin K stores are used up.

What are the uses of Coumadin?

The important function of Coumadin is to treat and prevent blood clots. The following are a few ways of using Coumadin. 

  • Treat blood clots in conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.
  • By preventing the formation of clots, coumadin reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. 
  • Reduces the risk of clots in conditions such as heart valve replacement, irregular heart rhythms, recent heart attack, and some surgeries of bones like fractures or joint replacements
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What are the side effects of Coumadin?

A few of the side effects of Coumadin are

  • It can cause severe and life-threatening bleeding. Although it is rare, there is a definite risk. Coumadin is only prescribed when the risk of clots is greater than bleeding.

Signs and symptoms of bleeding are – frequent nose bleeds, prolonged bleeding from cuts, easy bruising, prolonged menstruation, blood when coughed, dark-brown colored vomit, blood in stool, etc.

  • Rarely, it can cause small clots, which can lead to skin necrosis and gangrene
  • Can reduce bone density, causing fractures.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Coumadin

1. Is warfarin the generic name for Coumadin?

Yes, warfarin is the generic name for Coumadin. Warfarin is available both as a generic drug and also as a brand-name drug Coumadin.

2. What is the INR test for Coumadin?

INR or international normalized ratio is a test that measures the time that blood takes to clot. It is also known as PT or prothrombin time. This test is used to check the effectiveness of clotting factors and monitor the effects of anticoagulants.

3. How often do you check PT INR while on Coumadin?

When Coumadin is started, it is necessary to test PT INR at least once every few days or every week. After a few weeks, when the dose and the test results are stable, the test is done every 2-3 weeks or sometimes longer.

4. What is the antidote for Coumadin?

Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma (FFP), and prothrombin plasma concentrate (PPC) are three available antidotes for Coumadin overdose. They are given in varying doses and routes depending on the severity of bleeding and chances of morbidity/death.

5. How to reverse Coumadin?

Vitamin K can reverse the effects of Coumadin. However, it takes some time to work. In life-threatening conditions, FFP or PPC are given, as they immediately reverse the effects of coumadin.

6. Is Coumadin a blood thinner?

Yes, Coumadin is also referred to as a blood thinner. All anticoagulants are also known as blood thinners.

7. Is Coumadin an antiplatelet?

No, Coumadin is not an antiplatelet drug. Anticoagulants prevent the formation of clots by inactivating clotting factors, whereas antiplatelets prevent clots by stopping platelet cells from clumping together.

8. Can Coumadin cause birth defects?

Yes, Coumadin can cause birth defects. It is not given during pregnancy. It crosses the placenta, which leads to bleeding in the fetus, spontaneous abortions, stillbirth, etc. It also causes birth defects like skeletal abnormalities known as fetal warfarin syndrome (FWS).

9. Can Coumadin cause gastritis?

Coumadin can cause some stomach-related side effects like gastritis, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. Most of these side effects are not serious, but if they persist consult your doctor.

10. What's the difference between warfarin and Coumadin?

They both are the same. Warfarin is the generic name and Coumadin is the brand name.

11. Is Jantoven and Coumadin the same?

Yes, they both are the same. Jantoven is the generic name of warfarin, and Coumadin is the trade name.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.

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