Flaxseed Oil and Warfarin

Publication Date: 
Thu, 09/27/2012
By: Alere Staff

People use flaxseed oil for a variety of conditions including: arthritis, cancer, anxiety, dry eyes and prevention of heart attacks. The use of flaxseed and flaxseed oil for medicinal use has not been regulated by the Food and Drug Association.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil is used primarily as a food additive, in cooking oil and in margarines. Additionally, flaxseed oil is a component in paint, varnishes, linoleum, soap and a waterproofing agent.2

Patients on warfarin need to pay special attention when using flaxseed products as an increase in INR may result. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil has shown a propensity to decrease platelet aggregation and therefore increase bleeding time.1

Patients are recommended to speak with their healthcare professional before starting or stopping flaxseed products. Increasing testing frequency is recommended when starting or stopping any new medication or dietary supplement including vitamins. Home INR monitoring will help improve your control of warfarin. More frequent testing, typically performed by patient self testing, is a valuable tool for detecting rises and falls in INR values and enable you to work with your clinician to make any adjustments to diet or medication dosing.1 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.3,4 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.5 Go to the Getting Started page or call Alere at 1.800.504.4032 for more information about testing your INR at home.

  1. Prasad, K. Flaxseed and Cardiovascular Health. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. November 2009. vol 54, issue 5. 369-377.
  2. Jellin, F. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 2005. 1268.
  3. Am J Manag Care. 2014;20(3):202-209.
  4. Heneghan C., et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2006. Lancet, 367, 404-11.
  5. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Decision Memo for Prothrombin Time (INR) Monitor for Home Anticoagulation Management  (CAG-00087R) [Memorandum]. 2008. Baltimore, MD.