Living with warfarin

While the instructions for warfarin seem daunting at first, many people are able to take warfarin without experiencing problems. To do this, you need to understand the things that can affect warfarin and blood clotting, and keep these things in mind in your day to day life or when planning events or activities such as travel.

Watch our video, in which Libby talks about the effect taking warfarin has on her life. Libby explains that if she didn't take warfarin, there is a good chance she would have another pulmonary embolism (PE), so she is happy to take it. She feels she can live a fairly normal life, and isn't anxious about taking warfarin or having INR tests.


Reduce the risk of bleeding

Since bleeding is the most common side effect of warfarin, you need to take extra precautions to reduce your risk of bleeding, such as:

  • taking the correct dose and monitoring your dosage with regular blood tests
  • not drinking more than 1–2 standard alcoholic drinks per day. Alcohol can increase the risk of bleeding
  • reporting any significant changes in your diet to your doctor
  • checking with your doctor or pharmacist before you start or stop taking any medicines, including vitamins, non-prescription and herbal medicines. Use the NPS Medicines list to keep track of all the medicines you are taking
  • making sure you always take the same brand of warfarin
  • reducing your risk of injury — for example, by avoiding contact sports, wearing gloves when gardening, making adjustments around the home to reduce your risk of falls, using an electric shaver, brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • reporting any injuries — including falls, cuts and scratches, bruising and accidents — to your doctor, even if there are no visible signs of bleeding
  • carrying identification that says you are taking warfarin, such as a warfarin treatment card or MedicAlert medical ID.

Watch our video, in which Dr John Worthington gives practical tips on starting warfarin, INR testing, diet and vitamin K rich foods, and what to do if you are starting other medicines or get sick.

Find out more about warfarin and International Normalised Ratio (INR) blood test monitoring and how your diet and lifestyle can affect warfarin.

Use the NPS Warfarin Dose Tracker to help you keep track of your INR results and your daily warfarin dose. Download or order a free copy, or have a copy sent to you by calling us on (02) 8217 8700.

Download our Living well with warfarin fact sheet — for people who’ve been prescribed warfarin, or their carers, to help you live safely with warfarin. The more you know about warfarin, the more your health will benefit.