Coumadin is a prescription medication approved for treating and preventing blood clots due to various causes. It is an anticoagulant drug that does not "dissolve" blood clots, but rather keeps the clot formation in check, allowing the body's natural process to break down the clot. People taking this medication must be monitored using regular blood tests to ensure an effective treatment process.
Coumadin® (warfarin sodium) is a prescription anticoagulant, often described as a "blood thinner" (although it does not actually thin the blood). It is used to prevent and treat blood clots due to various causes.
Brand-name Coumadin is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
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, the medication 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.