Anticoagulation medication is prescribed to help prevent or treat harmful blood clots in the veins, arteries, lungs or heart. An anticoagulant is often prescribed to help prevent and treat blood clots in the legs and lungs, atrial fibrillation, and after heart-valve replacement surgery. Because everyone responds differently to anticoagulants, it is necessary to monitor your response to the medication carefully.
At the clinic, we will perform a simple finger stick to obtain a small drop of blood to be tested. This test measures your prothrombin time (PT) which is converted to an international normalized ratio (INR). This result helps us to see how fast your blood is clotting and therefore recommend the correct dose of anticoagulation medication, such as warfarin or coumadin.
What factors could affect your PT/INR?
- Other medications, vitamins or herbal supplements
- Physical activities
- Missed doses of warfarin, or failure to take it as prescribed
Important facts about anticoagulation therapy
- You will bruise easier when using an anticoagulant, however, if you notice excessive bruising (a lot more than normal), please contact the clinic.
- If your PT/INR level becomes too high, you are at risk for bleeding.
- If your PT/INR level becomes too low, you are at risk for developing a blood clot.
Contact us if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe or sudden headache, dizziness, or weakness
- Bleeding from a cut that will not stop
- Nosebleeds (a small amount of pinkish mucus is normal)
- Bleeding gums while brushing your teeth
- Vomiting blood
- Red or dark brown urine
- Black, tarry or red stools
- More bleeding than usual during menstruation
- Unusual pain or swelling
*If you have a cut that will not stop bleeding, please apply constant pressure to the wound and seek medical attention!
Don’ts of anticoagulation therapy
- Do not take an extra tablet to make up for a missed dose.
- Do not take warfarin if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
- Do not take generic warfarin unless specified by your doctor.
- Do not change your dose of warfarin unless instructed to do so by our clinic or your doctor.
Do’s of anticoagulation therapy
- Do get your blood tested as scheduled.
- Do keep the clinic informed of any medication changes, either prescribed or over the counter.
- Do take your dose exactly the way you were instructed to.
- Do inform other doctors, dentists, or emergency personnel care that you are on anticoagulation therapy.
- Do refill your prescription on time
- Do consider purchasing an ID bracelet or necklace or carry a card to alert emergency personnel that you are on anticoagulation therapy.
- Do take your anticoagulant in the evening.
Things to know while on anticoagulation therapy
- Avoid drastic changes to your diet.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Ask your doctor before participating in any sports/activities that may cause traumatic injury.
Contact the Anticoagulation Clinic
- Community Hospital East: 317-355-5109
- Remote Center (at East): 317-355-1645
- Community Hospital South: 317-887-7982
- Community Heart and Vascular Hospital: 317-621-8690