Warfarin is a medication used to treat high blood pressure. It was developed in the 1950s and has been approved by the FDA since 1983. Warfarin works by reducing the amount of platelets in your blood which causes them to clump together, thus stopping bleeding from cuts or wounds. When warfarin is taken with aspirin it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke caused by these types of injuries.
It is also prescribed to prevent kidney failure in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD refers to a group of diseases that affect the kidneys, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), nephrotic syndrome, and acute tubular necrosis. These diseases cause the body’s ability to filter waste products out of urine to decrease rapidly over time. Patients on dialysis may need to take medications that help maintain their blood flow. Warfarin helps protect against this type of damage by preventing the loss of red cells through urine leakage.
Warfarin is not only used to treat hypertension but also for other conditions like thrombosis, angina pectoris, and pulmonary embolism. Warfarin is sometimes prescribed when there are no other treatments available for certain types of cancer or heart failure. It is commonly used to treat ovarian cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, and bone cancer. It can also be used as a preventative drug for atrial fibrillation, which is an abnormal heart rhythm that causes an irregular heartbeat.
As with most drugs, there are many possible side effects of Warfarin use. Most of these side effects can be managed with changes in diet and lifestyle, but some may require the discontinuation of Warfarin therapy.
A common side effect of Warfarin use is spontaneous bruising or bleeding. This can make an individual more susceptible to nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and easy bruising. Individuals who take Warfarin are encouraged to keep a first aid kit handy at all times, especially if they engage in physical activity that can result in falls or injuries.