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Warfarin (Coumadin): an Overview

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Blood Clots  related image Photo: Getty Images

In addition to the side effects listed above, warfarin also interacts negatively with some food products, supplements, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Persons taking warfarin should consult their physician before taking or consuming the following:

• Food products: cranberries and cranberry juice (increases risk of bleeding, also avoid use of cranberry supplements), garlic or black licorice, any food high in vitamin K such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, turnip greens, watercress, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, mayonnaise, or canola oils. Excessive use of alcohol may also lead to excessive bleeding.

• Supplements: omega-3 or fish oil (which may seem counterintuitive since it’s often recommended for heart patients), vitamin K (necessary to form blood clots so it may reduce effectiveness of warfarin), St. John’s wort, glucosamine, cranberry extracts, garlic, dong quai, ginkgo, ginseng, willow bark, primrose oil, coenzyme Q10, wintergreen, bromelain, alfalfa, and danshen.
• OTC medications: aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, birth control pills, heparin, some antibiotics, and allergy and cold medications.

Because of the increased risk of bleeding, persons taking warfarin should inform their medical care provider before undergoing any dental work, minor surgical procedures, or even routine vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet so that medical professionals who may be treating you in an emergency are aware of the possibility of excessive bleeding and can respond accordingly.

For more information about warfarin usage, check out the warfarin page at The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/warfarin-side-effects/HB00101) or Clot Care Online Resource (http://www.clotcare.com/aboutwarfarin.aspx)

Atrial Fibrillation, The Mayo Clinic, 14 Feb 2009, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/atrial-fibrillation/DS00291

Warfarin side effects: Watch for dangerous interactions, The Mayo Clinic, 01 15 2009, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/warfarin-side-effects/HB00101

Add a Comment2 Comments


Hello Mellanie,
Thank you so much for sharing the additional information along with alternative treatments. I appreciate it very much and know our readers do as well.


January 3, 2011 - 6:19pm


Good article. Here are a couple of additional resources:

1) One of my favorite resources for those on Coumadin or warfarin is at http://www.ptinr.com (here's a review I did on it a while ago: http://www.stopafib.org/newsitem.cfm/NEWSID/38 )

2) For those who don't want to deal with all the negatives and side-effects of warfarin, there is a newly-approved alternative called Pradaxa (dabigatran) - see https://www.empowher.com/atrial-fibrillation/content/pradaxa-dabigatran-approved-alternative-warfarin-reducing-atrial-fibrill

Mellanie True Hills

January 3, 2011 - 3:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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