Warfarin Side Effects

by on July 22, 2012


Some of the most commonly reported side effects of Warfarin (Coumadin) include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating or gas, and an unusual sense of taste. If any of these side effects persist or become bothersome contact your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Common Warfarin Side effects

The most common Warfarin side effects include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloating or gas
  • Unusual sense of taste
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Pain and Cramping
  • Fatique and Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Hair Loss
  • Diarrhea

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Warfarin Side Effects

A severe allergic reaction can occur while taking warfarin; if you have any of the following symptoms get emergency medical help immediately.

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of lips, face, throat, or tongue

Other side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but are still very serious. If you experience any of the following side effects notify your doctor right away.

  • Side, back, muscle, joint, or stomach pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Chest pain
  • Decreased urination
  • Unusual skin color
  • Coffee ground substance or bloody vomit
  • Temperature change in any body part
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin ulcers or sores
  • Pale skin
  • Bruising or pain in toes
  • Stroke symptoms

Other serious side effects may include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Severe pain in the lower extremities
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual headache or weakness
  • Delay in the healing of wounds
  • Unusual pain, swelling, or discomfort
  • Jaundice or skin or eyes

Diet Restrictions

While taking warfarin, you should avoid foods that are high in vitamin K such as liver, vegetable oils, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of warfarin lessening its ability to reduce clot formation. It is also important to avoid all products containing cranberry such as cranberry juice, cranberries, and herbal supplements with cranberry in them. Alcohol consumption can heighten certain Coumadin side effects as well. You should not diet in an attempt to lose weight while taking warfarin; additionally, you should notify a doctor if you do experience any weight changes while on this medication.

Medical Precautions

It is imperative that all medical professionals; surgeons, doctors, and dentists know that you take this medication prior to beginning any treatment. Warfarin can cause individuals with the following conditions to bleed more easily; people who are ages 65 and up, have a severe disability or illness, a history of intestinal or stomach bleeding, surgery, medical emergency, kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, or any disease that affects the blood vessels in the brain.

 You should also notify your doctor if you become ill with flu like symptoms such as fever, chills, diarrhea, or body aches while taking warfarin. Because warfarin can increase the risk of bleeding in some individuals, it is recommended that you carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you take it.

Pre-existing Conditions

Individuals with the following conditions should not take warfarin; bleeding or blood disorder, blood in urine or stools, stomach bleeding, have had recent surgery or an upcoming surgery, if you will be needing an epidural or spinal tap in the near future, or have bacterial endocarditis. Many of these conditions may require waiting a short time before starting warfarin in an effort to ensure the associated risks are not increased. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take this medication as it can cause birth defects or fatal bleeding in an unborn baby. Women who are breastfeeding should not take warfarin as it can pass through breast milk and cause bleeding problems in a newborn.

Other Medications

It is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you take prior to starting a new one. If you take any of the following medications talk to your doctor before starting Coumadin as they could cause a dangerous interaction.

  • Non- steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol, Celebrex, Advil, Motrin, Voltaren, Cataflam, Indocin, Aleve, Naprosyn, or Feldene.
  • Bromelains
  • Coenzyme Q10,
  • Danshen,
  • Cranberry,
  • Ginkgo biloba,
  • St. John’s wort,
  • Ginseng,
  • Dong quai,
  • Garlic

Warfarin is used to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and the formation of blood clots in veins and arteries. It is very important that you tell all medical professionals that you take this drug prior to receiving any treatment. Many medical conditions may heighten the serious side effects associated with Coumadin. If you experience a serious side effect or a less serious one becomes bothersome notify your doctor.