Health Information

For Optimum Medication Therapy and Safety

University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health's (UM UCH) comprehensive approach to Anticoagulation Management will help to decrease an individual’s risk of developing complications and will improve your health through increased patient education and close monitoring of your medication therapy.

Our Anticoagulation Service provides an outpatient-based monitoring program for individuals who have been prescribed oral anticoagulation medications such as Coumadin (warfarin). You will receive education about your disease/condition and your medications. If medication changes are made, the pharmacist can provide you with a new prescription. Each appointment will include blood work (via a fingerstick), and one-on-one consultation and education with one of our pharmacists who is specifically trained in anticoagulation management. The results of your blood work will be used to adjust the dosage of your anticoagulation medication for optimum therapy and safety.

Our patients will receive education about their medication, their prescriptions will be called into the pharmacy of their choice, and follow-up appointments will be scheduled.

Anticoagulant medication, such as warfarin (Coumadin, for example), is highly effective in preventing stroke and death due to stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. However, it may not be suitable for everyone. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Anticoagulant medication, such as warfarin, provides the best protection against stroke.

  • Almost everyone who has atrial fibrillation should take warfarin. The only people with atrial fibrillation who may not benefit from taking warfarin are people with lone atrial fibrillation who are younger than 65 and have no other risk factors for stroke, or people with chronic kidney disease, recent surgery or head trauma, a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, or alcoholism.

  • If you are going to have cardioversion, your doctor will recommend that you take anticoagulant medication for 3 weeks before and for at least 4 weeks after cardioversion, to reduce the risk of stroke.

  • If you have lone atrial fibrillation and are younger than 60, you can take 325 mg of aspirin daily instead of warfarin.

  • If you are at risk for a stroke, aspirin can help prevent a stroke. But aspirin does not work as well as warfarin.

  • When taking anticoagulants, you are required to have regular blood tests to assess your risk for problem bleeding.

Learn more about warfarin

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