Blood Clots & Warfarin

If you are at risk for blood clots, we’d like to share some information about warfarin, a blood thinner popular due to its affordability. Salina Family Healthcare Center (SFHC) has two nurses, Taylor and Tina, designated to assist patients to reduce their risk of clotting with warfarin. If you have questions, please contact your medical provider to see if warfarin is a good option for you.

Warfarin (the brand name is also called Coumadin®) is a blood thinner. It is used to prevent blood clots from forming. Patients may take warfarin to prevent blood clots, if they are at risk for clots, if they’ve already had a clot, have an irregular heartbeat, or if they have a mechanical heart valve. When blood clots happen, they can break apart and may cause a stroke or pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).

Patients on warfarin take this medication at the same time every day, usually in the evenings. Commonly, patients ask if they need to change their diet while they are on warfarin. Here are some tips:

  • More vitamin K can cause your blood to clot more easily while on warfarin
  • Green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach are high in vitamin K
  • Eat the same amount of leafy greens each week
  • If you change your diet, tell your medical provider

Warfarin may increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. If you are on warfarin, it is very important to ask your doctor before starting or stopping any medications, including antibiotics, pain medications, herbal supplements, vitamin K supplements, and anti-seizure medications.  Changes in these medications may make your blood too thin or too thick.

Patients on warfarin will have to get their blood checked at the SFHC lab or another special lab to check their PT and INR levels (labs that monitor how thin the blood is). When first starting warfarin or during medication changes, patients will go more often to help their provider make sure they are on the correct dosage. Medication doses may be changed based on lab results.