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Thread: How often must one check Coumadin levels?

  1. #1

    How often must one check Coumadin levels?

    My doctor wants me to have a blood test to check Coumadin levels every month. But I thought I read somewhere someone said she only had them checked once a year.

    How often do I really need to get them checked? The level has been steady for about a year already, I go about once every 3 months now.

  2. #2
    I think standard protocol is a test once a month, unless you get some other direction from your doctor. I have my PT/INR checked once a month no matter what. If the levels are high on one of my monthly tests, my doctor will order testing in the interim to see if adjustments are necessary. Does your lab do finger stick tests or venous blood draws?

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    Generally the standard is once a month. For some people, especially early in the couadin game, it is done more frequently. Certainly once a year is too long in between. Coumadin is a medication that is very finnicky. One little change in diet and your level could change. It is important to keep the drug within a certain range. Unfortunately that can only be determined by your PT/INR.

    CKF

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    Generally the standard is once a month. For some people, especially early in the couadin game, it is done more frequently. Certainly once a year is too long in between. Coumadin is a medication that is very finnicky. One little change in diet and your level could change. It is important to keep the drug within a certain range. Unfortunately that can only be determined by your PT/INR.

    CKF
    Isn't there anyone here who has INR levels checked say once every 6 months? How about every 4 months?

    I don't like to go every month. I would rather go every six months. It's a hassle and I don't like medical tests, needles, etc. If the test result is a good INR, then I've wasted my time with the test; and if the test result is a bad INR, then I know my doctor is going to change the dose and demand weekly (or more) blood tests. Either way, I don't like to go.
    Last edited by xsfxsf; 09-13-2011 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by xsfxsf View Post
    Well I thought I read somewhere on the net a year or so ago that some lady said her doctor told her she only had to have her levels checked every 6 months. But I cannot find that reference. Maybe I was imagining it. Every place I checked does seem to suggest every month or maybe every 6 weeks.

    Isn't there anyone here who has INR levels checked say once every 6 months?

    I don't like to go every month. I would rather go every six months or something. It's a hassle and I've had more blood tests in my life than 100 average people. I'm sick of them and of people sticking things into me and of all this stuff.
    Hi "xsfxsf,"
    If you are on a blood thinning drug because you have atrial fibrillation, you might want to consider Pradaxa. http://www.pradaxa.com/ Pradaxa is not used for all cases where blood thinning is required. This is a new (expensive) drug that does not require routine blood tests. Depending on your medical insurance situation, it may be cost (plus psychologically) effective for you to try. Below is my cost analysis for myself on Medicare. I wrote this in response to another thread on this site.

    During my last physical my primary care physician and I discussed using Pradaxa instead of warfarin/coumadin to reduce the risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. I am 66 years old and on medicare with a good supplement and part D (drug) coverage.

    My Part D Plan covers Pradaxa as a branded medication, which shifts more of the total cost to me than a generic. My cost would be $250 for 90 day supply of 75 mg pills or $1,000 annually. The total cost charged to Medicare, which determines when I hit the doughnut hole, is $600 for 90 days supply or $2,400 annually. The doughnut hole starts at $2,840. My other medications already put me at the edge of the doughnut hole.

    Medicare Part B covers the protime blood tests at no copay, so I have no dollar savings from not having the blood tests to offset the substantial drug copay. Currently warfarin costs me $3 for 90 day supply of 3-2mg tabs a day or $12 annually and the total cost to Medicare (and the doughnut hole) is $50 for 90 days supply or $200 annually.

    A big problem for both patients and Medicare from advances in oral medications is the cost savings from Part B can not be used to help cover the drug costs in Part D.


    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    Hi "xsfxsf,"
    If you are on a blood thinning drug because you have atrial fibrillation, you might want to consider Pradaxa.
    Thanks, I am taking Coumadin because of a blood clot in leg several years ago.
    Last edited by xsfxsf; 09-13-2011 at 02:51 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
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    I was kinda lackidasical about doing the checkin thingy, until about 6 months ago, then my health care prof. said, oh no you don't!! Get in and get it checked, well I did and i was out of whack, way too thin, then I had a bit of angina TOO, AND LO AND BEHOLD, I WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK. tHANK GAWD i WAS OVER MEDICATED, AND HAD NO DAMAGE FROM THE ha. hAD THREE WAY BYPASS(AFTER THE LEVELS WERE BROUGHT DOWN TO ACCEPTABLE LEVELS)oops, sorry for caps. And since I've been tracked pretty regular, every week or so till it gets squared away.It's touchy but you should get it under control, then go out to a month. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Coumarin is not a drug to fool around with. You should get your blood checked no less Than every 4-6 weeks.
    Ckf

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