If you have recently started taking warfarin, finding information and support is a good first step. Even though a new diagnosis can seem daunting, you are not alone; according to Health.gov, more than 30 million prescriptions for warfarin are written annually for people with conditions like Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), Mechanical Heart Valve (MHV) or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Under the care of your doctor, our goal at Alere Home Monitoring is to keep you on track with a safe, healthy, independent lifestyle. We give you the tools you need to take control of your treatment on your terms. We offer in-home testing for quick and accurate results allowing you peace of mind. While this is all new to you, here is a list of our top five FYI’s for warfarin beginners:.
1. What’s warfarin anyhow? We know your doctor has given you many details to digest, so a review of the basics might be useful. Warfarin is an anticoagulant, a drug that works to prevent clots in the blood stream. Clotting is essential for healing injuries like cuts, but certain conditions cause clots to inappropriately form. Warfarin decreases the blood’s ability to coagulate, preventing such abnormal clots. Visit our FAQ section to learn more about warfarin.
2. Your INR range is prescribed for your safety and well-being. INR is a measurement that shows the time it takes for your blood to clot. Warfarin is designed to increase INR so as to decrease the body’s ability to form clots, but too much or too little could have dangerous affects. Regularly testing your INR is critical to make sure you are within the correct range. Your doctor will be able to determine a safe target ratio specific to you and can make dosage adjustments as necessary.
3. In-home monitoring is an option! We understand driving to the lab, having blood drawn, and waiting days for results can be disruptive to your lifestyle. Alere Home Monitoring helps to ease the testing process in the comfort of your own home, allowing you to enjoy a more flexible and independent lifestyle.
How does it work? If you are a good fit for our service, your doctor writes a prescription and we check with your insurance provider. Then we will provide you with a home monitor and guide you through your first test. Results are available within moments, which you can report online or by phone. Your doctor is promptly notified of your results to ensure your INR remains stable or to prescribe modifications to your warfarin therapy as needed.
4. Think about interactions. Be aware of possible interactions or interferences while taking warfarin. Take all medications as directed by your doctor because sometimes over-the-counter medicines such as pain-relievers can change how warfarin works in your body. In addition to OTCs, remember herbal supplements and vitamins can be game-changers. These are often overlooked because they have healthy and natural associations, but certain combinations with warfarin changes its effectiveness. One interference comes from vitamin K, found in leafy greens like spinach and kale.
5. Keep K consistent. Blood clots are formed through a series of chemical reactions in your body, of which vitamin K is an essential communicator. Warfarin works to disrupt that message by decreasing vitamin K’s activity. Keep your vitamin K consumption consistent to reduce the interferences as warfarin works in your body. The FDA does not require all food and beverage products to have vitamin K information labeled. Work with your doctor and look through our vitamin K guide so you can better track your intake and adjust your diet accordingly.
A new diagnosis and prescriptions require time to adjust, adapt and establish new habits. Alere Home Monitoring offers support and guidance through patient-focused service and education along your journey. If you are new to warfarin, remember to be mindful of what the drug does, how it interacts, and most importantly, how to measure its effectiveness so you can be sure warfarin is working for you.