Rat poison. Yes, rat poison. Until recently it was the ONLY drug (which means something different from the drug of choice) to counter potential blood clotting in humans who undergo dialysis and/or transplantation. Other folks took the drug to avoid cardiovascular complications because they had artificial heart valves or a condition called atrial fibrillation, among other situations.
For 57 years, patients have been receiving Coumadin to reduce the risk of blood clots. What most of them don’t know is that their “drug” really rat poison- warfarin. That is not really the problem (other than the “yech” factor)- it’s that the effective dosage is difficult to ascertain and maintain. Too low a dose- and the potential for bleeding out exists; too much warfarin- and the patient’s blood congeals, precluding blood flow. Certain foods (broccoli, spinach, among other Vitamin K laden vegetables) interact with the drug, and each patient has a different response to warfarin; women with menstrual cycles, obviously, have a more difficult time maintaining the optimal dosage. Basically, the only way to determine the effective dosage is to monitor the blood clotting time (which is not performed daily or weekly)- it’s “hit or miss”.