Proper Use of Coumadin and Blood Thinners

August 19, 2013

Coumadin Must be Properly Monitored

Coumadin (Warfarin) is a blood thinner that many people take to avoid blood clots or heart attacks. It is a life saving drug. However, it is also a medicine which must be monitored very closely. If there is too much Coumadin in the system, this can lead to a brain bleed or hemorrhagic stroke.

Coumadin Is a Useful Medication

As noted, Coumadin acts as a blood-thinner for people who are at great risk for forming blood clots, which in turn can lead to a heart attack, stroke or blood clots in veins and arteries.  Many lives have been saved by proper use of this medication.  But if you, or a loved one is on Warfarin, it is important that the medication is properly monitored and managed to keep you safe. You should not take Coumadin if you have a bleeding disorder, and it is crucial that you tell the prescribing doctor if you have any such disorder. Warfarin is also greatly affected by anything with Vitamin K.   This is because Vitamin K actually reduces the efficacy of the medication on your blood. In fact, Vitamin K is to lower the level if it is too high.

How is Coumadin (Warfarin) Monitored?

When you are first placed on Coumadin, it is extremely important that the doctors follow the proper dosing procedures. The goal is to bring Coumadin up to the correct dose and then to level it off to keep it there.  As a result, the first few weeks, while the doctors and/or Coumadin clinic nurses are working to get the dosage right, you will receive frequent monitoring.  Once your dose level is set and the doctor and/or nurses are content that you are at the proper Coumadin level, the monitoring will be less frequent, but often enough to keep you safe. During the first week, the College of American Pathologists recommends that you are tested at least four times. Many doctors will test you every day or every other day until the Coumadin is at the appropriate level.

Be an Advocate for Yourself or your Loved One

Understand, Coumadin is a very valuable medication. But the dosing and testing must be handled properly to keep the patient safe. In this article we have linked to a variety of resources that discuss the benefits and risks of Coumadin. The web is full of useful information on this powerful medication. Please be certain, if you or a loved one is on Coumadin, that you educate yourself and make sure the testing and management is appropriate.

Harmed By Coumadin? Contact the Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers of Lowenthal & Abrams

At Lowenthal & Abrams, we have a medical malpractice lawyer who is a doctor and another who is a nurse. Our Senior Litigator has been practice law for over 30 years. If you or a loved one has been injured due to improper management of Coumadin, please contact our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers.  We will discuss what happened and give you an honest assessment of your case.


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