What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is a drug used to reduce the risk of blood clotting. The natural antidote to Warfarin is Vitamin K, which is found in leafy green vegetables. If you are taking Warfarin, it is safe to eat green vegetables, but you should try to maintain a steady quantity in your diet. Alcohol can be used safely in small quantities.
Warfarin is not a new drug, and has been used in patients for many years. Although it is the active ingredient in Ratsak, it is safe to use in people when prescribed in very measured doses. It is used in patients who are at risk of forming blood clots that could lead to stroke, heart attack, or thrombosis in the legs or lungs. Warfarin is only prescribed with other anticlotting drugs like Aspirin in specific circumstances.
Warfarin is safe when monitored closely by your doctor. It has few major side effects which include risk of bleeding, that is, Warfarin will make you bleed more freely if you cut or injure yourself. Patients on Warfarin do have low but increased annual risk of major bleeding compared to people taking regular Aspirin (<2.0% vs 1.0%).
Patients on Warfarin also have a slightly greater risk of intra-cranial (inside the brain) bleeding when compared to people taking Aspirin (0.3%vs 0.1% pa). This risk is higher in the very elderly, and in people with a history of recent stroke and poorly controlled hypertension. Despite this, the risk of intracranial bleeding is substantially lower (>10x) than the risk of stroke due to other causes that Warfarin helps prevent.
Hence, Warfarin has a clear net protective effect against stroke compared to Aspirin or other therapy in selected patients at risk of stroke.