Information for Patients
Studies have shown that patients enrolled in an anticoagulation clinic have better INR control, better outcomes and fewer problems
Anticoagulation Clinics monitor and manage medication that prevent blood clots.
Physically, it is a specified location within a hospital or a medical office that is staffed by specially-trained pharmacists, nurses or nurse practitioners. These specialists, working in conjunction with your physician, will check your blood test and adjust your dose of warfarin as well as other medicines that may be needed (such as heparin shots or Vitamin K, the antidote to warfarin).
The most common medication used to prevent blood clots is called warfarin (also known by the brand names Warfarin® or Jantoven®).
Patient Frequently Asked Questions
What is an anticoagulent?
- "Anti" means against and "coagulant" means clotting. Anticoagulants are often called "blood thinners" because these medicines work on the clotting system in the body to help prevent the formation of blood clots. Anticoagulants are prescribed for a variety of conditions, and regular monitoring and adjustments are often necessary to make sure your condition is appropriately treated. The most commonly used anticoagulant is called warfarin, but it is also known by its brand names Coumadin® and Jantoven®.
How can I enroll in a Cleveland Clinic Anticoagulation Clinic?
- Your physician will complete a written referral to the Anticoagulation Clinic if he or she believes your condition warrants. After the referral is made, you will be contacted by the Anticoagulation Clinic and an initial appointment will be scheduled. You may contact your nearest Anticoagulation Clinic with questions about enrollment
What happens at an Anticoagulation Clinic appointment?
- The majority of patients who are referred to Cleveland Clinic Anticoagulation Clinics are taking warfarin. This medicine requires a blood test called International Normalized Ratio (INR). This blood test tells the healthcare provider how much or how little the medicine is working to prevent blood clots. The INR test usually requires a simple finger stick for blood, and the result is available within seconds. As soon as the results are available, the Anticoagulation Clinic health care provider has a face-to-face visit with the patient where the results are discussed. A bleeding risk assessment is conducted, education is provided, and adjustment of medicine dosing, if necessary, is determined. Prior to leaving the office, the patient is provided with written instructions about what was discussed during the visit, and when to return for future testing.
The Anticoagulation Clinics will also:
- Instruct you in the medication dosage and how to take it safely.
- Help you understand how your diet and medicines will affect your medication‘s effectiveness.
- Help you be aware of warning signs and other indicators while taking anticoagulants.
- Help you to know what to do if you are ill or injured.
- Allow you to ask questions are welcome at any time, either at appointments or by phone.
- Allow you to include family members and caregivers during appointments so that they may also understand your condition and treatment plan.
Who will be involved in my care?
- Cleveland Clinic Anticoagulation Clinic Staff
- We use a team approach (consisting of you and your doctor or nurse practitioner, as well as nurses or pharmacists) to best manage your anticoagulation therapy. Our team’s goal is to make sure your use of anticoagulants is safe and effective. We will also work to lessen the risk of complications that sometimes may come with using these medications.
- Primary Care Providers
- The Anticoagulation Clinics work in close contact with you referring healthcare provider. A referring healthcare provider is contacted immediately about any potential problems the Anticoagulation Clinic health care provider discovers at the time of the visit. All of your visit information is recorded in your medical record for your referring health provider to review.
I'm taking an anticoagulant other than warfarn. How can the Anticoagulation Clinics assist me?
- The Anticoagulation Clinics also manage patients who are anticoagulated with other medications. These medications include heparin and enoxaparin (Lovenox®), dabigatran (Pradaxa), Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®), apixaban (Eliquis®), and edoxaban. The Anticoagulation clinics provide information, assist with dosing requirements, and help you successfully manage your medication.
What are the colors and strengths of warfarin tablets?
Warfarin tablets come in several different shapes (round, oblong, oval) because there are several companies that make the tablets. All warfarin tablets use the same color and strength code shown below.
Where can I learn more about warfarin? (Coumadin)?
Anticoagulation Clinic Locations
Find an Anticoagulation Clinic close to you.