Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
NOTICE: For the safety of our patients and employees, masks are still required at all Cone Health facilities.COVID-19 Info: Current Trends | Vaccine Scheduling | Visitor Guidelines | COVID-19 Testing | More
Warfarin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. Because it prevents clots, it also helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other problems caused by blood clots.
It's important to know how to take warfarin safely.
Warfarin causes you to bleed more quickly when you're injured. So be sure to avoid doing things that increase your chances of bleeding. These are the four main steps you need to take:
Regular blood tests will help your doctor make sure you are taking the right amount of warfarin.
Things like an infection or a small change in your diet can change the way warfarin works. So can other medicines that you are taking. That's why regular testing is so important. The tests tell your doctor whether your dose needs to be changed.
Don't change your dose or stop taking warfarin unless your doctor tells you to.
Make these changes in your life to prevent falls:
Make these changes in your home to prevent falls:
Make these changes to prevent injuries:
Taking other medicines along with warfarin can cause a bad reaction. For example, some medicines can change the way warfarin works so you bleed too easily. Or warfarin can change the way the other medicine works.
Talk to your doctor before you start or stop taking any prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal products. If other doctors prescribe something for you, be sure they know that you take warfarin. Here are some examples of medicines that you need to be careful of:
Follow these safety tips for taking medicines:
What to do if you miss a dose of your warfarin
If you miss a dose of warfarin, the best thing to do is call your doctor. He or she can tell you exactly what to do so you don't take too much or too little. That way you'll stay as safe as possible.
But here are some general rules:
Most people who take warfarin can eat normally. But make sure that you don't suddenly eat a lot more or a lot less food that is high in vitamin K than you usually do.
Vitamin K helps your blood to clot so wounds don't bleed too much. Warfarin makes blood clots form more slowly. Suddenly changing the amount of vitamin K you eat each day could keep warfarin from working well.
How to get a steady amount of vitamin K
Foods with vitamin K
Follow these general rules when you take warfarin:
If you are pregnant, do not take warfarin. Warfarin can cause miscarriage or birth defects. If you are taking warfarin, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
If you think you might be pregnant, call your doctor. If you are pregnant, you will take heparin during your pregnancy.
If you plan on getting pregnant, talk with your doctor. You and your doctor will decide which medicine you will take—warfarin or heparin—while trying to get pregnant.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if you have:
If you are injured, apply pressure to stop bleeding. Realize that it will take longer than you are used to for the bleeding to stop. If you can't get the bleeding to stop, call your doctor.
Current as of:
August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.