What is the Anticoagulation Clinic?
Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung’s Anticoagulation Clinic is a specialized clinic for patients taking warfarin. The clinic is run by pharmacists who are highly trained in anticoagulation management. Although the majority of patients enrolled in the clinic are taking warfarin, the clinic serves as an excellent resource for patients taking newer oral anticoagulants such as dabigatran (Pradaxa®) or rivaroxaban (Xarelto®) or those needing treatment with injections called enoxaparin (Lovenox®).
Why is a special clinic needed to manage my medicine?
Warfarin, although highly effective, can be a dangerous medication if not closely monitored. If the blood becomes too thick, you could be at risk for forming clots; if it becomes too thin, you could be at risk for bleeding. It is considered a high-maintenance medication since it interacts with several other medications and also is affected by dietary intake of vitamin K. We believe that the more educated you are about warfarin therapy, the better you can help us manage this drug. We encourage open communication with our patients. Please let us know when there have been changes in your medications or other factors that could affect your anticoagulant therapy.
What is required to be enrolled in the Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung Anticoagulation Clinic?
Your physician must call or send a referral to the Anticoagulation Clinic. At this time, we accept referrals from all physicians at Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung, Northwest Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Northwest Oncology and Hematology, and Northwest Montana Surgical Associates. You must be willing to come for the required appointments with the pharmacist at least once a month, but more often if necessary.
What is the follow-up schedule for the Anticoagulation Clinic?
After you have been referred by your physician, you will be contacted by the Anticoagulation Clinic to discuss your therapy and to arrange your first appointment. At your appointment, the pharmacist will check your international normalized ratio (INR) by using a fingerstick blood test, and the results will be available immediately. The pharmacist will ask some questions about your health, medications and diet to determine if your warfarin dose should be adjusted, and will then schedule your next appointment. At your first visit, you will receive additional information about warfarin.
While on warfarin, your blood clotting time, or INR, must be checked at least once a month. It must be checked more often when first starting this medicine, when changes are made to your other medications or if your INR results are not within the therapeutic range.
How do I make an appointment?
For more information, or to make an appointment with the Anticoagulation Clinic, call Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung at (406) 257-8992.