Alcohol and Warfarin

Publication Date: 
Fri, 11/01/2013
By: Alere Staff

Patients taking warfarin should refrain from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol as it may influence INR results. Although many studies have supported health benefits from certain alcoholic beverages, such as wine, each person’s health is different. Alcohol raises INR levels for some individuals and lowers it for others.1

It is recommended you always practice controlled alcohol consumption and consult your doctor to determine what level, if any, would be appropriate for you. Several factors contribute to alcohol's effects, including the type of alcohol, your rate of metabolism and other medications you may be taking. Changes in health, hydration, food consumption and metabolism will affect how your body is affected even by consistent intake of alcohol. For this reason, increasing testing frequency is recommended when making any changes to your diet, medication, etc.

Studies have shown that increasing testing frequency with weekly testing of INR improves patient safety and helps keep the drug in its therapeutic effective zone .2,3 Weekly testing was shown to be the most effective testing frequency.3 Medicare and many private/commercial insurance reimburse patients for weekly patient self-testing.4 Go to the Getting Started page or call Alere at 1.800.504.4032 for more information about testing your INR at home.

  1. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Medication Guide for Coumadin Tablets and Coumadin for Injection [Package Insert]. 2010. Princeton, NJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
  2. Ansell, J. Patient Self-Testing: Real-World Experience Within a Comprehensive Support Service Represents a New Standard of Care, Attaining High Quality Anticoagulation Control. March 2012. Poster presented at: American College of Cardiology.
  3. Heneghan C., et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2006. Lancet, 367, 404-11.
  4. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Decision Memo for Prothrombin Time (INR) Monitor for Home Anticoagulation Management  (CAG-00087R) [Memorandum]. 2008. Baltimore, MD.