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Anticoagulant Use and Bleeding Precautions

Anticoagulants most commonly used:     

  • Coumadin or Warfarin                        
  • Plavix            
  • Aspirin        
  • Lovenox injections


Special considerations:  

  • 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.        
  • Fever.        
  • 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.


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