AnticoagulationOregon Medical Group’s Anticoagulation Clinic offers monitoring therapy for patients who are taking Coumadin (warfarin), an anticoagulant medication that slows blood clotting to decrease complications related to atrial fibrillation, artificial heart valves, a history of stroke or heart attack.
Because it slows blood clotting and can prompt bleeding, proper dosing of Coumadin is very important. Our clinic monitors and adjusts Coumadin by testing protime and INR levels using a fingerstick blood test. We also work with you to help understand the reasons for Coumadin therapy and how you can reduce the risks while taking this medication. By working in conjunction with a specially trained RN and your primary care physician, we help you achieve a safe and healthy lifestyle.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best time to take warfarin (Coumadin®)?
Always try to take it at about the same time each day. Ideally you should take it in the evening, but choose a time of day that you will remember to take it. On the days you are getting your INR level checked, do not take the warfarin before the blood test in case a change in your dosage needs to be made.
Should I take warfarin (Coumadin®) with food or on an empty stomach?
Warfarin (Coumadin®) can be taken with or without food.
How long will I need to be on warfarin (Coumadin®)?
It is up to your healthcare provider to determine how long you will need to be on warfarin. Warfarin is used to treat many different conditions. For some, you will only need to be on it temporarily, for others you may need to be on it for life.
What do I do if I travel?
If necessary, we can make arrangements for you to have your INR level monitored while you are away. Please notify us as soon as possible when you know you will be out of town so we can prepare the lab slips you will need to take with you. Remember to try to keep your diet consistent and to avoid excessive alcohol intake while you are away.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of warfarin and you remember within 12 hours, go ahead and take your dose. You should still take your next dose at the regular time. If you forget your dose for 24 hours or more, call your ACC nurse as soon as possible for special dosing instructions. Missing just one dose of warfarin can lower your INR by a full point, putting you at risk of having a blood clot.
What happens if I need surgery, dental work, or some type of invasive procedure?
Any time you are to have any type of procedure done, notify your ACC nurse. Depending on the procedure, the warfarin may need to be temporarily stopped, or you may need an alternative method of anticoagulation (bridging). Always check with your ACC nurse or primary care provider BEFORE stopping it for any reason. Stopping your warfarin (Coumadin®) may increase your risk of a blood clot.
How much warfarin (Coumadin®) is too much?
There is no limit on the dosage of warfarin. You will need to take whatever dose keeps your INR level in the therapeutic range. For some people, it may be a very small dose, for others, it may be a large dose. If you hear from your friends or neighbors that they are taking a lower dose than you, don’t let it upset you. Warfarin dosage is individualized to each particular patient.
Helpful Coumadin (Warfarin) resources