Warfarin: Precautions and Their Side Effects – CARE

If your doctor prescribed this medication, you should be aware of the interactions and side effects, for the good of your health.

Although it is commonly used to treat blood clots, Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) can have dangerous side effects or interactions that can place you at risk for bleeding. Here we show you the precautions to take into account to avoid the side effects of this medicine.

If you have been prescribed Warfarin to prevent blood clots, you should know that this potent drug can save your life if you are at risk for or have had blood clots. However, you may not realize the seriousness of the side effects that this can cause in your body.

Especially if taken incorrectly, Warfarin increases the risk of dangerous bleeding. Some side effects may also include interactions with some foods, prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements.

What side effects does this medication have?

When you take Warfarin, your blood will not clot properly. If you accidentally cut yourself while taking this medication, you may bleed profusely. However, the risk of further bleeding is low.

You are more likely to have bleeding problems if you are older than 75 or take other blood-thinning medications that can further increase the risk of bleeding.

You also have a higher risk of bleeding problems if you have:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • History of stroke.
  • Kidney problems
  • Cancer.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Liver diseases.

What precautions can I take to deal with the side effects of Warfarin?

Tell your doctor about other medications or supplements you are taking. Many medications and supplements can have a dangerous interaction with Warfarin.

Inform your doctor before undergoing any medical or dental procedure. It is important to share this information even before minor procedures, such as vaccines and routine dental cleanings.

If you are going to have an operation, you may need to reduce or stop the Warfarin dose at least five days before the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe a shorter-acting blood thinner.

Avoid situations that increase the risk of injury to blood vessels or veins. Contact sports and other activities that could result in head injuries must be avoided.

It is also important to inform your doctor if you have a history of falls, or suffer from recurrent motor instability.