What to Expect at Home
Warfarin is a medicine that makes your blood less likely to form clots. This may be important if:
- You have already had blood clots in your leg, arm, heart, or brain.
- Your health care provider is worried that a blood clot may form in your body. People who have a new heart valve, a large heart, a heart rhythm that is not normal, or other heart problems may need to take warfarin.
When you are taking warfarin, you may be more likely to bleed, even from activities you have always done.
Changing how you take your warfarin, taking other medicines, and eating certain foods all can change the way warfarin works in your body. If this happens, you may be more likely to form a clot or have bleeding problems.
It is important that you take warfarin exactly as you have been told.
- Take only the dose your provider has prescribed. If you miss a dose, call your provider for advice.
- If your pills look different from your last prescription, call your provider or pharmacist right away. The tablets are different colors, depending on the dose. The dose is also marked on the pill.
Your provider will test your blood at regular visits. This is called an INR test or sometimes a PT test. The test helps make sure you are taking the right amount of warfarin to help your body.
Alcohol and some medicines can change how warfarin works in your body.
- DO NOT drink alcohol while you are taking warfarin.
- Talk with your provider before taking any other over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, cold medicines, antibiotics, or other drugs.
Tell all of your providers that you are taking warfarin. This includes doctors, nurses, and your dentist. Sometimes, you may need to stop or take less warfarin before having a procedure. Always talk to the provider who prescribed the warfarin before stopping or changing your dose.
Ask about wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace that says you are taking warfarin. This will let providers who take care of you in an emergency will know you are taking this drug.