About Coumadin Therapy
Taking coumadin is a very important part of your treatment.
Your doctor, nurse and pharmacist will do all they can to ensure coumadin works well for you, but you must take charge of your coumadin therapy.
What you need to do
- Take coumadin as prescribed for you. Know what common problems might arise and how to respond.
- Report for all scheduled clinic and laboratory appointments.
How to take Coumadin
- Make sure you have the correct tablets. Check the color and number printed on the tablet.
- Take coumadin at the same time each day. A good time to take it is with your evening meal.
- If you forget to take coumadin, do not take another tablet to catch up.
- Talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about any concerns you may have while you are taking coumadin.
- Be sure to have your blood work done on time.
Negative signs to watch for
- Blood in the urine or stools.
- Bleeding cuts that do not heal.
- Bleeding from the nose.
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising under the skin.
If you experience any bleeding that does not stop quickly, immediately call the clinic nurse or your doctor.
About Vitamin K
Vitamin K blocks the action of coumadin. Some foods such as green vegetables have a lot of vitamin K in them, so you need to each such foods in a consistent manner or your coumadin level may need to be adjusted.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or a nurse at the Anticoagulation Clinic.
The INR is a blood test that determines the dose of jantoven/coumadin you need.
We will do a finger stick to get the amount of blood needed for that test. On occasion, we will need to perform a venipuncture to verify the INR result.
We will contact you with your lab results and any changes that need to be made in your jantoven/coumadin dosage.
If you do not hear from us the day you have your blood drawn, take your usual dose of warfarin/coumadin and we will call you the next day.
If you do not receive a call within 24 hours, please call us toll-free at (800) 667-1028.
What to Expect at Your Appointment
MaineGeneral's Anticoagulation Clinic provides services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- After you receive a referral from your doctor, one of our nurses will call you to make your first appointment.
- During this visit we will do a brief physical assessment, check your blood and have you speak with the nurse.
- When you start your therapy, you can expect to come to the clinic at least twice a week until we stabilize the dose of jantoven/coumadin you need according to your lab results.
- Once your medication level is within the prescribed therapeutic range, you will only need to come to the clinic once every four to six weeks, depending on your lab results and your need to speak with the nurse.
- We can arrange for your blood tests at a lab closer to your home for your convenience. We also work very closely with all home health agencies if your doctor wants you to have this service.
Getting the Most from Your Medicines
- The more you understand about your medicines, the more you can take charge of your health.
- Know the names of your medicines, the reason you are taking each one and how to take each medicine.
- Always carry a list of all your medications with you. Show the list whenever you receive health care treatment.
- Be sure you understand what each medicine should do for you. If you do not, speak with your doctor.
- If you need help remembering to take your medicines, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to help you create a reminder plan that works for you.
- Take your medicines only as directed. If you forget to take a dose, do not double up on the next dose. Skip the dose or take it later.
- Do not take more of your medicine than the doctor orders. Taking more does not make you get better quicker. Medicines don't work that way so taking more may make you sicker.
- Know the possible side effects of your medicines and what to do if you experience them.
If you have any questions, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
- Take coumadin as directed.
- Have blood tests done on time.
- Please contact the Anticoagulation Clinic when any health care provider prescribes a new medicine for you.
- Please contact the clinic if you have diarrhea for more than two days.
- Do not take aspirin unless prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not make sudden changes in your diet. If you start eating more green vegetables, let the nurse or doctor know.
- Avoid injury.
- Tell each of your health care providers that you are taking coumadin.
Coumadin Therapy FAQs
What is coumadin?
Coumadin is a medicine that reduces your blood's ability to form dangerous clots.Good clots form when you get cuts and bruises to prevent you from bleeding too much. Bad clots form inside blood vessels and can break off, blocking blood flow to vital parts of your body.
Your doctor will prescribe a dose of coumadin to prevent dangerous clots from forming, while allowing good clots to protect you from bleeding.
How will my doctor know if coumadin is working for me?
To be sure the balance between good and bad clotting is right, your doctor will order a regular blood test that shows how fast your blood clots. Your coumadin dose may be adjusted depending on your test results.
Your doctor will ask to enroll you in MGMC's Anticoagulation Clinic, also known informally as the Coumadin Clinic, to have these regular blood tests done.
The clinic will contact you a day or two after you leave the hospital to arrange for your first blood test at the clinic.
The clinic has a physician and several nurses on staff. You will first see the physician for a brief visit and then the nurses will do the blood tests and call you with any changes in your coumadin dose.
If you do not hear from the nurse the day of your blood test, take your usual dose for that day and the nurse will call you the next day.
What may cause problems for me while I'm on coumadin?
Bleeding problems may happen when the amount of coumadin in your blood increases. This can happen if:
- The way your body uses coumadin changes
- You drink alcohol
- You take medicines that interfere with how your body uses coumadin
- You eat certain foods that interfere with how your body uses coumadin