Anticoagulants are a class of medications also referred to as blood thinners. These medications prevent your blood from developing dangerous clots that can cause issues like deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Blood thinning medications require careful administration to minimize risks. Taking too little, too much, or missing a dose can cause significant problems. Anticoagulation therapy management plays a key role in patient safety.
Cardiologist Dr. Sam Suri and our team provide full anticoagulation management for all anticoagulant medications. Examples of medications in this class are:
- Warfarin (Coumadin®)
- Dabigatran (Pradaxa®)
- Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®)
- Betrixaban (Bevyxxa®)
Anticoagulation therapy management
Taking anticoagulant medication requires careful management. Too much medication increases the risk of bleeding, while too little raises the risk for developing blood clots. For this reason, Dr. Suri carefully monitors his patients who take coagulant medication. Anticoagulant management involves:
- Using specific factors to choose the most appropriate anticoagulant medication
- Providing anticoagulation therapy counseling and patient education to ensure safe and effective use
- Working with patients to develop a medication routine and improve adherence
- Monitoring lab tests for specific clotting factors
- Managing your anticoagulant medication when undergoing surgical procedures
Avoiding dangerous drug interactions
Part of anticoagulant therapy management involves monitoring medication and supplements to prevent hazardous interactions.
Many medications available over-the-counter and by prescription can interact dangerously with anticoagulant medications. Common medications such as certain pain drugs and many antibiotics are hazardous if taken with anticoagulant medications.
Dr. Suri discusses what medications you need to avoid while you’re on anticoagulant therapy. It’s important to discuss it with the doctor before taking a new vitamin, supplement, or medication of any kind.
Managing your diet to avoid interactions with anticoagulant therapy
Certain foods can make anticoagulant medication less effective. To tackle this issue, Dr. Suri provides dietary counseling to ensure that patients avoid consuming foods that interfere with anticoagulant therapy.
Vitamin K is one nutrient that can lessen the effectiveness of warfarin, so increasing your intake of vitamin K could potentially increase the risk for clots.
It’s important for patients taking warfarin to eat a consistent amount of vitamin K each week, but not too much. For women, that’s 90 mcg, and 120 mcg for men. Leafy greens contain the highest amount of vitamin K in foods, such as:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Dr. Suri discusses dietary changes you may need to make to ensure the effectiveness of your anticoagulant therapy.
Other lifestyle changes such as limiting alcohol intake may be necessary. Drinking alcohol can affect anticoagulant therapy in several ways. It interferes with the body’s ability to break down coagulants like warfarin, causing the drug to build up in your blood.
Additionally, alcohol can reduce the body’s production of platelets, which adds to the bleeding risk. Patients taking anticoagulant medication should mostly avoid alcohol. The doctor advises you whether it’s safe for you to have it occasionally and if so, how often and how much is safe.
Managing anticoagulation therapy around planned surgery
Before planning a surgery, it’s crucial to discuss it with Dr. Suri. Because of the bleeding risk involved with anticoagulant therapy, careful management is necessary before, during and after any surgical procedure.
The amount of risk depends on the type of surgery. Major procedures like total hip replacements and hysterectomies present a significant bleeding risk, while less invasive surgeries pose a lower risk. Managing your medication around surgery is crucial to reducing your bleeding risk.
If you have an upcoming surgery planned, Dr. Suri provides a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether a dose adjustment is necessary or whether you need to stop anticoagulant therapy before the procedure.
Close monitoring and management is necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of anticoagulant medication. To learn more, visit Dr. Suri at West Coast Medicine and Cardiology. Call our Fremont or Hayward, California, office to schedule an appointment. You can also send the team a message here on our website.