Warfarin is an anticoagulant (blood thinner). Warfarin also is used with other drugs in the treatment of some lung cancers. Warfarin is used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger. It is often prescribed for patients with certain types of irregular heartbeat and after a heart attack or heart valve replacement surgery.
Warfarin is an anticoagulant that helps prevent clots from forming in the blood. It works by stopping or blocking the formation of certain substances that cause clots. Many clotting factors, or substances, are dependent upon vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed to help the blood to clot and prevent excess bleeding during an injury. Warfarin blocks the re-use of vitamin K in the liver and thus "regulates" the blood's clotting capacity. Many patients refer to this as "blood thinning," but in fact, warfarin does not make your blood thinner like water. Instead it makes your blood less able to form potentially dangerous clots. Warfarin reduces the formation of blood clots, which is important in the prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and blockage of major veins and arteries.
Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication that can be given orally. It works by decreasing levels of activity vitamin K in the blood. Vitamin K is necessary for the synthesis of many coagulation factors, and by blocking their production, coagulation slows down. Warfarin is a derivative of coumarin, a plant chemical found in low levels in licorice, lavender and various other species. As well as its use as an anticoagulant, warfarin-like compounds are used as rat poison.
Warfarin is slower acting than another common anticoagulant heparin, though it has a number of advantages. Heparin must be given by injection, so this cannot be done by the patient. Warfarin has a long half-life and needs only be given once a day. As well as these problems, heparin can also cause thrombocytopenia (a decrease in platelets), which may cause bleeding. For these main reasons, hospitalised patients are usually given heparin initially, and are then moved on to warfarin.
The liver is the body's main factory. Here, sugars and fats and proteins are broken down and others are made. It is the site where the body makes the proteins it uses to cause the blood to clot. The body's action in blood clotting is quite complex, and uses a series of proteins secreted into the blood by the liver to interact with other substances found in the blood. Warfarin slows the production of some of these clotting proteins that are made in the liver. It does so by inhibiting the action of Vitamin K which promotes the formation of some of the clotting proteins.