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Coumadin Uses

How Does the Medication Work?

Blood clotting is a complex process that involves many different substances in the body (known as clotting factors) and several different steps. Coumadin works to inhibit blood clotting by decreasing the formation of active forms of certain clotting factors.
Some clotting factors require vitamin K to be converted into their active forms. Although this reaction changes vitamin K into an unusable form, the body can recycle it back using an enzyme known as vitamin K epoxide reductase. Coumadin blocks this enzyme, inhibiting the recycling of vitamin K and thereby decreasing the formation of the active clotting factors.
It is important to understand that Coumadin does not "dissolve" or break down blood clots (only special "clot buster" medications that must be given in the hospital can do this). Rather, it prevents them from forming. When used to treat a blood clot, Coumadin keeps the clot formation in check, allowing the body's natural processes to break down the clot.

Coumadin Uses in Children

Although Coumadin has not been thoroughly and adequately studied in children, there is enough evidence available to suggest that it is effective for preventing and treating blood clots in children. Dosing may be more difficult for children, and monitoring may need to be more frequent.

Off-Label Uses for Coumadin

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Coumadin for something other than the conditions discussed in this article (this would be known as an "off-label" use). At this time, using Coumadin to prevent recurrent transient ischemic attacks (TIA or "mini strokes") is an off-label use.
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Coumadin Medication Information

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