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Our health at times requires certain complex medicines to function properly. Warfarin is one such medicine. While on one hand, such complex medicines have their own side effects, they also have certain contraindications (side effects when consumed with some other products) if not taken carefully. Sometimes such contraindications are not merely restricted to the medicines prescribed simultaneously but also with some naturally consumed foods. In this article, let us understand the fruits which should be avoided when someone is taking the medicine called Warfarin.
What Is Warfarin And Why Is It Administered?
Warfarin is a medicine used for reducing the formation of blood clots, especially in the veins and arteries of the human body. This particular medicine is used as a blood thinner or anticoagulant. This is prescribed for patients with a high risk of stroke, heart attack or other such serious conditions. Warfarin helps in decreasing the vitamin K levels (an important substance which helps in clotting of blood) in the human body, thus reducing or affecting the process of clotting of blood within the body.
Since Warfarin works by reducing the levels of vitamin K, which is formed within the body as well as extracted from the food human beings consume, it is best to avoid consuming food which can increase the levels of Vitamin K in the body. However, one needs to be cautious since consumption of foods that are low in Vitamin K can increase the probable side effects of Warfarin whereas an increase in consumption of vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Therefore, adopting a moderate path (not altering the amount of vitamin K drastically) would be the best solution while administering the drug called Warfarin.
Side-Effects And Risks Of Warfarin
Warfarin, in general, increases the risk of bleeding in human beings. Since the medicine itself is an anticoagulant, such increased risk of bleeding can well become a threat to human life apart from having other serious repercussions such as feeling weak and dizzy, bleeding gums, bleeding nose, bleeding through urine or stool, heavy menstrual bleeding, gastrointestinal disorders, skin rash, hair loss, itchy skin, and abnormal vaginal bleeding, among other such side effects.
Certain individuals can be allergic to the medicine and thus it is important to take the allergy test before actually starting with the course of medicine. Some of the symptoms of allergy to Warfarin include swelling in various parts of the body such as throat, lips, face, and tongue apart other grave symptoms such as black or bloody stool, coughing up blood, vomiting of blood or composition of vomit which looks like coffee grounds, red urine, or severe joint pain among others.
Fruits to Avoid When Taking Warfarin
There are specific fruits and foods that increase or alter INR Levels with Warfarin which include:
1. Cranberry Juice or Supplement
Based on a recent study, an occasional small glass of cranberry juice should not be a problem. Consuming larger amounts of cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements may alter INR Levels.
Mango tends to change the way Warfarin works which can be risky.
3. Grapefruit Juice
Drinking Grapefruit or Grapefruit Juices since these tend to affect the way in which warfarin works which can be risky.
4. Seville or Tangelo Oranges
The fruit though does not contain Vitamin K in excess, but such fruits tend to have its own interactions with many medications which might include Warfarin.
Avocado tends to intervene in the way Warfarin works in the human body which can be risky.
Foods To Avoid When Taking Warfarin
As already mentioned in the above paragraph, patients who have been administered a drug like Warfarin should try to avoid altering the levels of Vitamin K in the body for adverse reactions in any case. In case, the individuals attempt to change the pattern or quantity of foods impacting Vitamin K levels in the body, the same should be discussed with his/her medical practitioner as such change in food pattern might require conducting an INR or a blood clotting test to ensure the effectiveness of Warfarin.
Spinach Being rich in Vitamin K, Spinach might negate the effect of Warfarin.
Kale is another item which is high in Vitamin K and thus the drug Warfarin might not have adequate results.
Some other such items include Parsley, Brussels sprouts, Mustard Greens, Green Lettuce, Red Cabbage, and Chard.
Further, there are certain items which tend to lower the levels of Vitamin K in the human body. These items have to be avoided while undergoing a course of Warfarin because inadequate levels of Vitamin K can trigger bleeding which might turn fatal for individuals. Food items which tend to lower the levels of Vitamin K are
- Green Tea
- Chamomile Tea
There are certain food items which might have contraindications if consumed along with medicine like Warfarin such as
Garlic is known to have several herbal benefits for the human body, however, when taken with the drugs such as Warfarin, it might have certain contraindications.
4. Herbal Substances Such As Gingko Biloba
Similarly, the herbal properties of Gingko Biloba might have certain contraindications when consumed during the course of Warfarin.
While a patient is being administered Warfarin, the medical practitioner and the patient both should ensure that the medicine would not have any contraindication from other medicines consumed by the individual. Some of the medications which can supposedly have a reaction when consumed with Warfarin include antidepressants, birth control pills, other blood thinners, and certain antacids, anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics, and certain medications for controlling seizures.
It can be confusing to decide what and how much to consume, especially while taking a drug like Warfarin. In such a circumstance, it is advisable to follow a diet such as the one mentioned in Coumadin Diet Handout to understand what should or should not be consumed with a drug like Warfarin. If possible, it is best advisable to make an appointment with oneâ€™s dietician to understand the type of diet which should be undertaken with a drug like Warfarin.
The individuals should be cautious about what they are eating and drinking, especially while on a prescription drug such as Warfarin. They should, therefore, understand the food items and Fruits to Avoid When Taking Warfarin.