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Every year, it’s estimated that upward of three-quarter of a million Americans will wind up in a hospital emergency room simply due to a medication error, often preventable. And blood thinners, particularly warfarin, are one of the top three medications that result in hospitalization.
Warfarin, known commonly by the brand name Coumadin, is taken to prevent blood clots. This drug is extremely sensitive to other drugs, foods, and supplements that alter the levels of the liver enzyme used to break down the warfarin, says Dennis Vettese, Coumadin Clinic coordinator at St. Thomas More Hospital. When that enzyme is altered, the liver degrades the warfarin faster or slower than expected. If the warfarin is degraded slower, it can lose its power to prevent blood clots. If it is degraded faster, it can cause unexpected bleeding. “Coumadin patients need absolute awareness that many different medications can cause dangerous changes in levels,” Vettese says.Don’t leave your doctor’s office or pharmacy with unanswered questions. 10 Questions You Must Ask
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