Warfarin – uses, health risks, and side effects at NaturalPedia.com

Monday, September 24, 2018 by

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that is used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in a patient’s blood and their blood vessels. The drug is prescribed for individuals with certain types of irregular heartbeat, those with prosthetic heart valves (e.g., replacement or mechanical), and patients who have already had a heart attack.

Additionally, warfarin may be used to prevent or treat conditions like venous thrombosis (swelling and a blood clot in a vein) and pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung).

The anticoagulant warfarin is a blood thinner, and this class of drugs works by decreasing the clotting ability of the blood. Warfarin’s brand names include Coumadin and Jantoven.

Known health risks or side effects of warfarin

Warfarin causes common side effects that are linked to abnormal bleeding. These side effects may include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Brown or pink urine
  • Coughing up blood
  • Cuts that take a long time to stop bleeding
  • Heavier than normal menstrual or vaginal bleeding
  • Nosebleeds
  • Red or black stools
  • Unusual bruising (e.g., bruises that grow in size or unexplainable bruises)
  • Vomiting blood/vomit that looks like coffee grounds

You may require immediate medical attention if you experience severe side effects such as:

  • Purple toes syndrome – Symptoms may include pain and toes turning purple or a dark color.
  • Skin tissue death – This may occur if blood clots form and block blood flow to an area of the body. Symptoms may include pain or any changes in the color or temperature of any area of the body.

List of organs that might be affected by warfarin

An overdose of warfarin may cause complications like excessive bleeding. Taking the anticoagulant drug may also cause an allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction to the drug may include breathing difficulties; hives; or the swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Food items or nutrients that have similar effects to warfarin

The following foods or nutrients, which are natural blood thinners, have similar effects to warfarin:

  • Cayenne peppers – Cayenne peppers are full of salicylates, a natural acid. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic derivative of salicylate and a powerful blood thinner. If you’re not too fond of spicy foods, take cayenne pepper capsules instead. The spice can also help lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and reduce pain sensations.
  • Garlic – Garlic has natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. Studies also show that odorless garlic powder has antithrombotic activities. An antithrombotic agent is a substance that can help reduce blood clot formation. Do not take high doses of garlic at least seven to 10 days before a planned surgery.
  • Ginger – Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that can prevent blood from clotting. It also contains salicylate. Use fresh or dried ginger when cooking to take advantage of the anticoagulant effects of natural salicylates.
  • Turmeric – Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin with anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties. Consuming turmeric daily can help maintain the anticoagulant status of your blood.

Treatment and management options for the side effects of warfarin

Consuming foods rich in fiber can help prevent the side effects associated with warfarin, such as bloody stools. You need fiber in your diet because it promotes soft and easy-to-pass stools.

A diet high in fiber also lowers your risk for bloody stools caused by constipation and hemorrhoids. If you’re constipated, you may have infrequent bowel movements or you may pass hard and small stools. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in or just outside the anus.

Fiber-rich foods include:

  • Fruits (e.g., pears and raspberries)
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables (e.g., artichokes, barley, and dark green vegetables)
  • Whole grain bread and pasta

Women should consume at least 25 g of fiber daily, while men should consume at least 38 g.

Where to learn more

Summary

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that is used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in a patient’s blood and their blood vessels.

Warfarin causes common side effects that are linked to abnormal bleeding such as bleeding gums or bloody stools.

An overdose of warfarin may cause complications like excessive bleeding. Taking the anticoagulant drug may also cause an allergic reaction.

Natural blood thinners like cayenne peppers, garlic, ginger, and turmeric have similar effects to warfarin.

Consuming foods rich in fiber can help prevent the side effects associated with warfarin, such as bloody stools.

Sources include:

MedlinePlus.gov

Drugs.com

Healthline.com

MedicalNewsToday.com

Livestrong.com



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