You will have many questions for your physician after he or she has prescribed Coumadin®. The Coumadin Clinic will play an important role in monitoring, tracking, and adjusting your blood levels to maintain your target level of Coumadin®. The Coumadin Clinic at CCT will also educate you on the benefits and risks of taking any medication. We will touch on a few questions and answers about the prescribed drug Coumadin®. Always go on the directions of your physician when using Coumadin® or any other medication. Never rely on any web site for final answers to your questions. If you feel you need help immediately or suddenly feel ill, call 911 for emergency help. What is Coumadin®? It is an anticoagulant drug that helps reduce clots from forming. These blood clots can cause serious health problems if a clot moves from one part of the body to another. How is Coumadin® used? Coumadin® is used to prevent and treat blood clots which can be associated with "atrial fibrillation" which is an irregular rapid heartbeat. It is also used for drug treatment in association with heart valve replacement. Coumadin® is also used to lower the risk of stroke in patients who have already experienced a heart attack. What does Coumadin® do? Coumadin® assists in blocking the re-use of vitamin K in your liver. Vitamin K is critical in the formation of blood clots. Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables and in some vegetable oils. The drug Coumadin® reduces the body's ability to form blood clots. How long does Coumadin® stay in my body? Coumadin® can act on the body from two (2) to five (5) days with a single dose. How much Coumadin® is prescribed to me? Your physician will determine the target level right for you. A quick blood test called a prothrombin or (PT) test is used to determine your target dosage. Your dosage will change, so your physician may call for frequent blood tests to monitor your levels. Do I need to change my lifestyle? No, unless your physician tells you to. Keep your eating habits the same, and keep your activities the same as before going on Coumadin®. You may want to wear a medical alert identification bracelet or chain to notify health care professionals that you use an anticoagulant. Do I need to avoid certain things? Yes. Do not take an extra tablet to catch up your schedule if you forget to take your pill. Do not take Coumadin® if you are pregnant. Tell your physician of all medications you take. Prescriptions and over the counter. Avoid or be careful when engaging in activity that can cause trauma or bleeding. Ask your physician what you should not do while taking Coumadin®. Everyone is different. What is printed here is general guideline information, and is not a substitution for a physician's exam and consult. Are there major side effects associated with Coumadin®? The most common is bleeding. Don't get scared, because your physician will tell you how to handle this potential situation should it arise. Who else should know I am on Coumadin®? Tell your dentist or any other medical professional about your drug therapy. Get an I.D. that says you are taking Coumadin®. I take Advil® for headaches. No big deal? It is very important to tell your physician of all medications you currently take. Non-prescriptions drugs such as Tylenol®, Motrin®, Advil®, Nuprin®, Aleve®, aspirin, Tagamet®, Zantac®, and vitamin supplements for example can interact with Coumadin®. What about drinking wine or beer? Avoid alcohol consumption while on Coumadin®. Talk with your physician for direct instructions. What does Coumadin® look like? Coumadin® is in the form of a pill. Each strength has its own color. Your dosage may change periodically, so always pay close attention to the color of your pills.