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Consistency Is Key When Taking Warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®)

Friday, February 1, 2019  
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McLaren Greater Lansing is the first hospital in the mid-Michigan region to treat carotid artery disease using a new procedure that dramatically lowers the risk for stroke during and after surgery.

When taking one of the most serious drugs on the market, it is important to have careful monitoring, proper dose adjustments, access to the latest information, and care from experienced health care professionals.  It is so important to manage this medication consistently that McLaren Greater Lansing has created an Anticoagulation Clinic that specifically manages patients who are taking warfarin.

“Our clinic was created because of McLaren’s commitment to expanding outpatient services to the community,” said Linda Akers, pharmacist at the Anticoagulation Clinic. “Face-to-face visits provide a private, relaxed atmosphere to ask questions and receive guidance and education about your unique condition and medication.” The clinic is managed by pharmacists under the supervision of Dr. Ibrahim Shah, Cardiologist and Medical Director. 

Warfarin is typically taken by patients who have atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is an irregular heartbeat that can increase your risk for stroke, heart failure, and other cardiac complications. However, the drug is also used by patients who have had a pulmonary embolism (PE), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or who have had a heart valve replaced. 

The pharmacist teaches patients how important consistency is. What time they take their medications and the types of food they eat are just two of the topics that can be discussed at an appointment. Pharmacists will also review over-the-counter medications that a patient may want to take and discuss how the medications could affect warfarin.

 

“We keep patients within a tight therapeutic range,” said Akers. “If the dosage is too high, the patient will experience bleeding. It could start as a nose or gum bleed but can develop into something more serious, including gastrointestinal bleeding. If the drug dosage is too low, then the patient can develop blood clots that can travel to their lungs, heart, or brain.” Research shows that participating in an anticoagulant clinic may decrease complications and deaths caused by blood-thinning medications.

“The best part of our clinic is we do a point-of-care blood draw, which is just a finger stick right here in the office. The meter we use provides instant results, and we can adjust your dosage, if needed,” said Akers. “No more phone tag trying to get your results, and we report back to your physician the same day.”

If you are interested in becoming a patient at the McLaren Greater Lansing Anticoagulant Clinic (GLAC), you will need a referral from your physician. The clinic schedules all patients by appointment, so you do not need to wait to get your blood drawn.

About McLaren Greater Lansing

McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital operate the region’s most distinguished cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery programs that—together with McLaren Greater Lansing’s oncology, women’s care and wide-ranging diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services—consistently lead in clinical quality and efficiency. The hospitals are part of McLaren Health Care, mid-Michigan’s largest health care system. Visit mclaren.org/lansing.

About McLaren Health Care                        

McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Grand Blanc, Michigan, is a fully integrated health network committed to quality, evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, a 490-member employed primary and specialty care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 620,000 lives in Michigan and Indiana, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. McLaren has 26,000 employees and more than 85,500 network providers. Its operations are housed in more than 350 facilities serving Michigan and Indiana.


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