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Warfarin sodium (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) is anticoagulant "blood thinner" medication often prescribed for the prevention and treatment of blood clots due to various causes. It comes in tablet form and is usually taken once a day.
Blood clotting is a complex process that involves many different substances in the body, known as clotting factors, and several different steps. Warfarin works to inhibit blood clotting by decreasing the formation of active forms of certain clotting factors. It is important to understand that the medication does not "dissolve" or break down blood clots. Rather, it prevents them from forming. When used to treat a blood clot, warfarin keeps clot formation in check, allowing the body's natural processes to break it down.
Before you begin warfarin therapy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or have a bleeding disorder, diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other medical condition. Although warfarin is a life-saving drug, it can cause potentially life-threatening side effects. Your healthcare provider will need to monitor you closely on a regular basis during the treatment process using special blood tests.
(Click Warfarin for more information on how warfarin therapy works, what side effects may occur during treatment, and tips and precautions for those using this medication.)