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Coumadin

What is Coumadin?

Coumadin is an anticoagulant medication taken orally to thin the blood and prevent clotting in a patient's legs and lungs.  It helps prevent blood clots in patients with Atrial Fibrillation*.  The patient may also be placed on Coumadin if he/she have an artificial heart valve.

*Atrial Fibrillation is a disorder of the heart in which the upper chambers (atria) of the heart do not completely empty when the heart beats.  This can allow blood clots to form and increase the risk of stroke.

How does Coumadin work?

Although the body needs vitamin K to help the blood clot to prevent bleeding, Coumadin blocks the formation of vitamin K dependent clotting factors in the liver.  Coumadin stops harmful clots from forming and existing clots from getting bigger, but it does not break up existing clots.

When do I take Coumadin?

Take Coumadin at the same time every day.  If a patient forgets to take it at the normal daily time, take the missed dose as soon as possible, but only on the same day.  DO NOT take a double dose of Coumadin the next day to try to make up for missed doses.

While taking Coumadin, it is important to eat a normal balanced diet maintaining a consistent amount of Vitamin K.  Below is a list of some of the foods that contain a high amount of Vitamin K and should be eaten in moderation:

  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Soybean, Canola, and salad oils
  • Olive Oil
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Endive (raw)
  • Kale leaf (raw)
  • Lettuce, bibb, red leaf (raw)
  • Lettuce, iceberg (raw)
  • Mustard greens (raw)
  • Parsley
  • Peas, green
  • Spinach leaf (raw)
  • Turnip greens (raw)
  • Watercress (raw)
  • Green Scallions (raw)
  • Dill Pickles

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