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Why are Warfarin tablets color-coded?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on May 15, 2023.

Official answer


Warfarin is color-coded for safety reasons to help prevent medication errors. For example, the 5 milligram (mg) tablet is a light orange color, no matter the manufacturer, but the pill shape and imprints may vary.

Warfarin (Jantoven) is a widely used blood-thinner (an anticoagulant) approved to help prevent potentially deadly blood clots in the heart, lungs, veins, and arteries.

Warfarin is considered a high-alert drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), meaning it can cause serious injury, like bleeding. Therefore, it is very important for you to know about this blood thinner and take it exactly as directed.

Generic warfarin tablets may come in different shapes, but each strength comes in just one color.

  • For example, the 5 milligram (mg) tablet, one of the most common strengths, comes in a peach to light orange color.
  • To help prevent confusion, it's always a peach to light orange color, no matter the manufacturer; however, the tablet shape and imprints may vary.
  • Studies have shown there are few, if any, risks of using generic warfarin.
  • You can view warfarin color examples here.

Before you leave the pharmacy, make sure the color of your tablets match the strength your doctor prescribed. If you have questions, speak directly with the pharmacist. Taking the wrong dose may lead to dangerous blood clots or excessive bleeding.

Still concerned? You can also use the Pill Identifier Wizard to verify medications.

This is not all the information you need to know about warfarin for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

Related questions

  • Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). ISMP List of High-Alert Medications in Acute Care Settings. 2018. Accessed May 15, 2023 at
  • Dentali F1, Donadini MP, Clark N, et al. Brand name versus generic warfarin: a systematic review of the literature. Pharmacotherapy. 2011 Apr;31(4):386-93. doi: 10.1592/phco.31.4.386. Accessed May 15, 2023 at PMID: 21449627 DOI: 10.1592/phco.31.4.386
  • Witt DM, Tillman DJ, Evans CM, at al. Evaluation of the clinical and economic impact of a brand name-to-generic warfarin sodium conversion program. Pharmacotherapy. 2003 Mar;23(3):360-8. Accessed May 15, 2023 at PMID: 12627935 DOI: 10.1592/phco.23.3.360.32103
  • Pereira JA1, Holbrook AM, Dolovich L, et al. Are brand-name and generic warfarin interchangeable? Multiple n-of-1 randomized, crossover trials. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Jul-Aug;39(7-8):1188-93. Epub 2005 May 24. Accessed May 15, 2023 at doi: 10.1345/aph.1G003. Epub 2005 May 24. PMID: 15914517

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