Anticoagulation and Pharmacotherapy
Anticoagulation medicines – also known as blood thinners – prevent or treat blood clots. Your doctor may prescribe them if you’ve had a heart attack or if you have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart valve disease or another heart and vascular condition. When doctors use medicine to treat you – as opposed to other treatments like surgery or radiation therapy – it’s called pharmacotherapy. Anticoagulation therapy is a type of pharmacotherapy.
Anticoagulant medicines prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in your blood vessels. They can be given in the form of a pill, an injection, or an infusion. Your doctor and pharmacist will guide you to the form is best for you.
At Providence, our doctors work closely with pharmacists to keep a close eye on your health and make sure you’re safe while taking blood thinners and other medicines. We’ll teach you about the medication you’re taking and its side effects as well as how diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices impact your health while you’re taking it.
To begin anticoagulation therapy, you’ll need a referral from your doctor. Most insurance plans cover all or part of lab testing and other services related to your treatment.
At each appointment, the pharmacist will take a small sample of blood from the tip of your finger to test your blood’s ability to clot. You’ll get results while you’re there. They also will make sure all your prescriptions are safe and effective and not interacting with each other or with foods in your diet in a harmful way.
The pharmacist will keep your doctor updated on your health, and they will work together to make any necessary changes to your treatment.
If you need to take blood thinners for a long time, you may use an at-home monitoring device to test your blood. Your pharmacist will let you know if you qualify.
We understand that coming in regularly for appointments isn’t always convenient. At Providence, our goal is to make your visits as quick and easy as possible. We do everything we can to make it easier for you to stay healthy.
You might notice minor symptoms when you begin taking blood thinners, such as your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth or your skin bruising more easily. Your pharmacist will let you know about all potential side effects and will make sure you know when you should call your doctor.
Taking blood thinners can cause iron-deficiency anemia – when your blood doesn’t have enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Through regular blood tests, your pharmacist will check for anemia and work with your doctor to adjust your medicines to prevent or treat it. You’ll also learn about iron-rich foods and dietary changes that can help prevent anemia.
At Providence, we make sure you have the information and individual attention you need to stay healthy. Our pharmacists stay in close contact with your doctor and make adjustments to your medicines to keep you feeling good.