Coumadin Side Effects – Common and Rare!

Coumadin Side Effects

Blood thinning drugs, as their very clear name suggests, are utilized in cases where the a person is at increased risk for the formation of blood clots, has a condition that creates dangerous blood clots, or has certain types of heart problems. The majority of them serve a primary goal of heart attack and stroke prevention by reducing the likelihood that a clot will dislodge or grow larger and head for the brain or heart and help prevent new clots from forming. One of the most common blood thinning medications (and most well known) is Coumadin. And, although it is abundantly popular for its ability to thin the blood and stave off the formation of new clots, it does not dissolve existing clots and is not considered a blood clot treatment or cure. And, there are some Coumadin side effects to be aware of, both common and mild as well as serious and even life threatening.

Some of the most common side effects associated with the use of Coumadin are gastrointestinal disturbances. This can include gas and bloating, both which can lead to some pain and discomfort in the abdomen. And, other stomach related symptoms may also present for users of Coumadin. These include vomiting and nausea, both of which also can be related to discomfort in the abdominal region. One interesting side effect that is mild and common that occurs with the use of this medication is a change in taste perception or a distorted sense of taste. For the most part, these common Coumadin side effects are mild and not serious.

In 1% of people or less taking Coumadin, some skin symptoms may appear. Alopecia, rashes and bullous eruptions are infrequent but have occurred. Additionally, urticaria (hives) has also occurred in cases where allergic reaction did not occur. Very rarely, skin necrosis occurs in some people taking the medication with females who are obese being the most commonly affected by this. In general, however, these dermatological blood thinners side effects are very uncommon. Moving beyond the skin, there are other serious although rare Coumadin side effects that all users should be aware of. Some users have encountered jaundice and higher than normal liver enzymes. And, problems with the kidneys have been observed infrequently as well, including hematuria (blood in urine) and acute renal failure. Some less serious but still rare side effects have occurred like nervous system effects like fatigue, malaise, headaches, dizziness and intolerance to cold. There are more serious effects on the nervous system such as coma and loss of consciousness that are encountered even more rarely.

To avert some of the potentially serious rare Coumadin side effects, some people choose instead a regimen of aspirin instead of medications designed for similar purposes. And, although studies show that aspirin can be effective to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in some users with minimal to intermediate levels of risk of stroke or heart attack, Coumadin side effects should not be considered grounds for avoiding blood thinning medications entirely. There are situations where they are the only suitable course of treatment and other remedies, such as a daily aspirin regimen, are not appropriate.

One of the most major risk factors of blood clots is stroke, specifically ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood vessel obstruction (obstruction from clots being the most common). There are two different types of blockages that result in an ischemic stroke. One which is simply a clog that forms in a vessel and the other is a clot that forms elsewhere in a vessel and then travels to another area, where it forms a clog. Both are very serious, and evident of why paying attention to blood clot symptoms and making healthy lifestyle changes including exercise and dietary changes are very important for high risk individuals.

All types of medications carry some risk of side effects. Even natural blood thinners are not without their potential to cause adverse reactions, although rare and often unlikely. And, Coumadin side effects may leave a lot to be desired in terms of symptom free treatment. But, medications are prescribed when the benefit of treatment or therapy outweighs the risk of side effects. And, in the case of Coumadin, stroke and heart attack prevention are some very, very important benefits.