Anticoagulant Use and Bleeding Precautions
Anticoagulants most commonly used:
- Coumadin or Warfarin
- Lovenox injections
- Take medication at the same time each day.
- If you forget a dose it can be taken later in the same day. The doctor needs to be notified if more than two doses are missed.
- Sometimes the doctor combines aspirin with other anticoagulants. The aspirin enhances the action of the anticoagulant. Don’t take aspirin unless ordered by the doctor.
- Avoid regular and /or excessive alcohol intake. (It increases the metabolism of the coumadin).
- Carry a medical identification with the name and dose at all times
Ways to minimize the risk of bleeding while on anticoagulant therapy:
- Unless ordered by your doctor, avoid aspirin products containing aspirin.
- Use an electric rather than a straight-edge razor.
- Floss and brush teeth gently using a soft toothbrush.
- Cut nails carefully.
- Avoid situations that could result in injury, like contact sports, etc.
- Avoid blowing your nose forcefully.
- Avoid straining to have a bowel movement.
What to report to your doctor:
- Blood in urine or stool (tarry-sticky black stool if the patient is not on iron which can also make the stool black, but not sticky).
- Unusual bleeding from nose, gums, or skin.
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop in 10 minutes. (Apply direct pressure to site for 5 to 10 minutes to stop bleeding.)
- Faintness, dizziness or increased weakness.
- Severe headaches or stomach pain.
- Unusual bruises.
- Extra heavy menstrual flow.
- Vomiting blood.
Nutrition: If you eat green leafy vegetables, eat consistent amounts. These are higher in vitamin K which helps blood to clot. Dosage of anticoagulant medication is adjusted to be appropriate for your current diet.