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Coumadin Toxicity

Other Forms of Toxicity With Coumadin

People are often surprised to learn that increased blood clotting can actually be a form of Coumadin toxicity. Although Coumadin is used to prevent and treat blood clots, people just starting the drug may actually be at an increased risk for blood clots, which can lead to tissue death (gangrene) and fatal outcomes. Coumadin decreases certain anticoagulant proteins before it starts working to prevent clots; this temporarily increases the risk for blood clotting. In some cases, your healthcare provider might recommend "bridge therapy" with heparin or a heparin-like medication temporarily when you first start taking Coumadin.
 
(Click Coumadin Warnings and Precautions for more information about safety concerns to be aware of.)
 

Limiting Negative Effects of Coumadin

Careful monitoring is the key to limiting the negative effects of Coumadin. Monitoring will help your healthcare provider determine if your dosage needs to be adjusted. Taking too little Coumadin, which can increase the risk of blood clots and strokes, can be just as dangerous as taking too much, which can increase the risk of dangerous internal bleeding.
 
Close monitoring, using a blood test known as the international normalized ratio or INR, is essential for safe use with this medicine. As long as you take Coumadin, your INR will need to be monitored frequently.
 
Many medications and some foods interact with Coumadin (see Coumadin Drug Interactions and Coumadin Diet). Such interactions can lead to dangerous consequences if not handled properly. Check with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication or supplement, or even when adjusting the dosage of any medication or supplement.
 
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Coumadin Medication Information

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