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Warfarin helps prevent the
formation of blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form.
This also prevents an existing clot from getting larger.
Warfarin is used to lower the
risk of stroke in people who have
atrial fibrillation. Your doctor may recommend
warfarin based on your risk factors and on whether you can take
warfarin safely. Anything that increases your risk for a disease or
problem is called a risk factor. The more risk factors you have, the greater
your risk of stroke.
Risk factors for stroke include:
Warfarin can reduce the risk of stroke in anyone with
atrial fibrillation. Even after your heart rhythm is under control, you may
still take warfarin. Some people go in and out of atrial fibrillation without
even knowing it. Taking warfarin can lower your chances of having a blood clot
or a stroke.
You will likely take warfarin for at least
3 weeks before and 1 to 3 months after cardioversion.
Warfarin can help reduce the risk of stroke in people who have atrial fibrillation.
Bleeding is the most common side effect
Know the signs of bleeding
Call 911 if:
Call your doctor right away if:
If you are injured, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Realize that it
will take longer than you are used to for the bleeding to stop. If you can't get the bleeding to stop, call your doctor.
Warfarin may also cause a skin rash.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
When you take warfarin, you need to take extra steps to avoid bleeding problems.
For more information, see:
what to do if you miss a dose of anticoagulant.
Pregnancy. Do not take warfarin if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. If you are
taking warfarin and think you may be pregnant, call your doctor. Warfarin can cause birth defects. If you
become pregnant while taking warfarin, your doctor may recommend that you
switch to another anticoagulant medicine called heparin while you are pregnant.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?)
to help you understand this medication.
December 18, 2008
Robin Parks, MS
Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
& John M. Miller, MD - Electrophysiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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