Anticoagulant Therapy (Warfarin, Coumadin)


This treatment uses medication to keep your blood from clotting. We call these drugs "anticoagulants, or "blood thinners." You may need to take an anticoagulant if you're at risk of having blood clots. You may take one if you have a circulation problem, or a problem with your heart or lungs.

Why is a blood clot dangerous?

Why is a blood clot dangerous? For most people, clotting isn't a problem. In fact, it's a normal response to injury. If you cut yourself, your blood clots to stop the bleeding. But some people can get clots without injury. For example, a person with poor circulation may get a clot in a leg after sitting for a long time. A clot can travel through your body and clog a smaller blood vessel. It could go to your heart and cause a heart attack. It could go to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. It could go to your brain and cause a stroke.


Anticoagulants save lives. But, be careful when you take them. If you get cut or hit hard while on anticoagulants, you can bleed freely. You can bleed inside your body and not realize it. This is very dangerous.


If your doctor prescribes an anticoagulant, use it safely. Follow all of the instructions carefully. Tell your doctor about any other medicine or supplement you are taking. Don't start taking any new ones without first telling your doctor. For more info, talk to your doctor.