Professor Gérard Helft is a cardiologist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Heart Institute (Paris). This specialist doctor brings many tips ...
Why should patients taking an anticoagulant be well informed?
The information communicated to the patients is absolutely essential because the slightest difference in taking this medicine can have serious consequences. However, practical information is still very largely lacking.
The more informed and cared for patients, the more careful they are to take their treatment. And so there are many fewer complications.
In practice, what advice would you give to these patients?
Do not hesitate to ask why you have been prescribed AVKs if you have not been told, or ask how your doctor adapts your treatment with a simple blood test. Keep in mind that there have been tracking books for decades, which will help you monitor your condition on a daily basis.
Another reflex: remember to always have your prescription on you. In case of an accident and if you are unconscious, the doctor who will take care of you will first mention the possibility of internal bleeding, for example.
Can we self-medicate safely when taking AVK?
No, and this is one of the very important concepts to integrate: drug interactions are potentially dangerous. Do not take any medicine without the advice of the doctor who has prescribed VKA. And this even if you think that it is harmless because bought without prescription or compound of plants. For even if it is homeopathy for example, it can react with the AVK and cause either thrombosis (clot) or hemorrhage.
In the same way, do not stop any treatment on your own as this can also affect the effectiveness of VKA.
It is of course totally forbidden to stop AVK treatment for personal reasons. You must not make any misconduct with respect to the original prescription.