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Safe Use Of Anticoagulants, Ambulatory Care

Anticoagulants

are medicines used to treat or prevent blood clots by thinning your blood. These medicines can be used to treat conditions such as pulmonary embolism or venous thrombosis. The medicines may be used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots after surgery or long-term bedrest.

Seek care immediately for the following symptoms:

  • A nose bleed that lasts longer than 10 minutes
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • A sudden, severe headache, or inability to move one side of your body
  • Dizziness or inability to keep your balance
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Trouble breathing or chest pain

Take your anticoagulants safely:

  • Always take your medicine exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Take your medicine at the same time every day. This will help keep a steady level of medicine in your body.
  • Take 1 dose of medicine at a time. If you forget to take a dose, do not take 2 doses. Too much anticoagulant in your body may increase your risk of bleeding and change medicine levels in your blood.
  • Do not stop taking your medicine. Follow your healthcare provider's directions.
  • Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin unless prescribed by your healthcare provider. Many over-the-counter medicines contain aspirin. Aspirin may increase your risk of bleeding.
  • Do not start or stop taking any other medicines (prescribed or over the counter) or supplements. Ask your healthcare provider before changing any medicine or supplement. Certain medicines and supplements can cause excessive bleeding or cause your anticoagulant to not work properly.

Safety measures:

Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are taking anticoagulants. Keep a current list of medicines and their dosages with you at all times.

  • Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
  • You may need regular blood tests so your healthcare provider can decide how much medicine you need. The dose may need to be changed because of your test results. Write down changes to your dose of medicine.
  • Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric razor. Avoid activities that can cause bruising or bleeding.
  • If you take warfarin, some foods can change how your blood clots. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, grapes, and other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you take warfarin.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking anticoagulants. Alcohol can increase your risk of bleeding.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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