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Important Advice for Patients

An Anticoagulant delays your blood from clotting, Warfarin is an anticoagulant. Taking Warfarin is safe provided you follow the DO’s and DON’Ts.

A letter will be sent to your GP advising them that you have commenced Warfarin, the reason why and how long your treatment should last.

A blood test called an ‘INR’ is required to tell us how long Warfarin is delaying your blood from clotting. We will inform you by means of a dosage letter what the result of the INR is and what dose of Warfarin you must take. The letter will also advise you when your next blood test is due and provide a blood test request form.

Always carry your dosage letter with you and show it to your doctor dentist or any other medical practitioner, when obtaining treatment. Show it to your Pharmacist when you are having a prescription dispensed and when purchasing medicines ‘over the counter’ as a pharmacist can advise you if it is suitable.



DO carry your Anticoagulant Alert Card with you at all times.

DO keep your appointments for your blood to be checked. If you cannot attend tell the doctor or clinic and make another appointment.
DO remember the name, strength and colour of your anticoagulant.
DO take your tables at the same time each day.  
DO inform the doctor of bruising or bleeding problems immediately. For example:
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Nose bleeds or bleeding gums
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Red or black stools
  • Unexplained, excessive bruising
  • Tell you doctor straight away if you suffer sudden severe headache
  • Women may find increased bleeding during periods, or any other vaginal bleeding
DO remind your doctor or dentist that you are taking an anticoagulant if any surgery or dental treatment is needed.  



DON’T miss a dose of anticoagulant. If you do, make a note of the date and tell your clinic or doctor when you next have a blood test. If you miss more than 1 dose, contact your anticoagulation clinic for advice.
DON’T take an extra dose of anticoagulant if you are unsure if you have taken your tablets. If necessary use a calendar and mark off each dose by a line through the date.
DON’T run out of tablets you can obtain a repeat prescription for Warfarin tablets from your GP.  Do not run out of tablets before the repeat prescription is requested
DON’T take aspirin or any preparation containing aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) unless this is prescribed by a doctor who knows you are taking anticoagulants. When buying any medicine over the counter, check with a pharmacist to see if it is safe to take along with your current prescribed medication. Paracetamol can be taken in normal doses while on anticoagulants. Changes in your medication should be written on the bottom slip of your dosage letter before your next blood test.
DON’T go on crash diets marked changes in the amount you eat can influence your INR. Be moderate and consistent when planning your meals. There are certain foods that will have a greater impact than others on your INR result.
DON’T take more then moderate amounts of alcohol marked changes in consumption can be dangerous  

Oral anticoagulants taken in the early weeks of pregnancy carry a small risk of damaging the unborn child.

If you are a woman of childbearing age receiving anticoagulants you should not start a pregnancy without consulting your doctor, who will be able to decide whether or not you should continue your anticoagulation therapy.

If you find that your period is one week overdue, and you think you may e pregnant, you must see your doctor straight away.

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