Coumadin is the brand name of anticoagulant (blood thinner) medicine Warfarin. Warfarin is synthesized from dicoumarol, a chemical found naturally in fungal molds on clover hay. Warfarin works by inhibiting vitamin K which is an essential component for blood clotting mechanism. Warfarin was originally created, and is still used, as a pesticide against rats and mice. Soon after its discovery it was found to be effective in preventing thrombosis and abnormal blood clot formation.
Since the early 1950s it has been approved and used as a popular drug for preventing heart attack, stroke and blood clots in blo1od vessels. It is the most prescribed anticoagulant medicine in North America.
Coumadin is prescribed for preventing and treating venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (obstruction of the pulmonary artery by a blood clot), stroke and heart attack. Bristol-Myers Squibb is the manufacturing Company of Coumadin.
Adverse Effects and Risks of Using Coumadin
The most common and serious side effect of Coumadin is hemorrhage or bleeding from any tissue or organ. In extreme cases it may cause coughing up blood, bleeding from nose and gums, blood in urine and stool and excessive bruising.
Other serious side effects of Coumadin include:
- Necrosis (premature death of cells) of skin and other tissues
- Purple toe syndrome
Some rare but very serious side effects include:
- Extreme allergic reaction
- Angina Syndrome
- Liver injury
- Partial or complete loss of consciousness (Syncope)
It may cause minor side effects including:
- Cold intolerance
Coumadin has been categorized as X (a classification given to medicines that show problems to the fetus in animal studies or in humans) for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defect and severe bleeding in fetus. This drug should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed by Coumadin users who experienced serious side effects of this drug and sued the manufacturing company on the grounds they failed to disclose potential danger of taking this drug or the prescribing authority for not monitoring/prescribing the proper dosage of this medicine. FDA requires the medicine to carry a warning of possible fatal bleeding.
In a 2007 lawsuit, Walgreens pharmacy lost $25.8 million as they were held liable for filling a prescription of Coumadin with wrong dosage and the patient died.
Getting Legal Help
If you are a Coumadin user and think that you have experienced any serious side effects as mentioned above, contact your healthcare professional immediately. If you feel that improper administration and management of Coumadin have caused any adverse effect or injury which is over and beyond what is normally expected, then you have the right to seek legal help against the responsible individual/company. You may contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in product liability with all relevant information, like symptoms, dosage, adverse effects you experienced, etc, to evaluate your claim and assess your legal standing.