Your Child on Warfarin: What You Need to Know

Child laying sick in bed at the hospitalWarfarin is an anticoagulant medication that thins blood to help it flow freely through the body. It may be prescribed by your child’s pediatric cardiologist to prevent thrombosis, which is the formation of clots within blood vessels.

Special Instructions

Your child’s pediatric cardiologist will schedule regular blood tests to monitor the effectiveness of the medicine. The blood test typically involves pricking the child’s finger and placing a drop of blood on a slide for examination.

It’s also important to check with your child’s doctor before giving your child any other prescription or over-the-counter medication. If a dose is missed, contact your child’s pediatric cardiologist right away. It’s important to keep enough on hand to last through times when your pharmacy is closed or unavailable.

Because warfarin thins your child’s blood, let their dentist know before coming in. Any other doctors or medical specialists helping your child should also be informed.

Dietary Considerations

Some foods can change the way warfarin works in your child’s body. Foods rich in vitamin K may make the medicine less effective at preventing blood clots, while some fruit juices can make the medicine too effective.

Some foods to avoid when taking warfarin:

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Soybeans and soy products
  • Cranberries
  • Grapefruit

When in doubt, make sure to follow the diet recommendations made by your child’s pediatric cardiologist.

Potential Side Effects

The major complication associated with warfarin is bleeding due to excessive anticoagulation. Children taking warfarin are advised to avoid contact sports and should be careful when engaging in activities that could result in cuts and bruises.

Some children on warfarin may still be able to take part in contact sports, but the use of safety equipment is essential. Report any accidents, signs or symptoms of bleeding or unusual bruising to your child’s doctor.