Posted By CCF CARDIO MD sc on November 14, 1997 at 17:14:33:
In Reply to: coumadin and alcohol consumption posted by heather johnston on November 10, 1997 at 00:15:24:
: Thanks. My boyfriend of 29 just underwent open heart surgery to have his aortic valve replaced. It was a congenital defect. He will now be taking Coumadin for the rest of him life, he's only 29. The risks and maintenance sound overwhelming. What about alcohol consumption? Can he ever have a beer or a glass of wine again? In moderation? Or ever? I am not sure if he will approach his Dr. with this question. Thanks, Heather Johnston
Dear Ms Johnston
Your question is a very common one and although I will give you some guidelines I feel that it is of utmost importance that your boyfriend does consult his physician with this question. The reason I say this is that his cardiologist is more aware of the details of his case and surgery and can also be more specific in his questions. There are now numerous patients who have been on coumadin for a very long period of time and if this is done diligently the risks of any complications are minimized. Described in a very simple fashion Coumadin or warfarin act against Vitamin K derived clotting factors that are formed in the liver. Any drug or food that may effect the absorption of vitamin K or the rate that the liver metabolizes this Vitamin to form these clotting factors may influence the anticoagulant effect of warfarin. It is probably not harmful to take have an occasional drink while on Coumadin, however one has to avoid binge drinking at all costs as this may effect liver function. Obviously drinking to a point that may limit judgment is very dangerous because the consequences of any injury one may suffer are exacerbated by the bleeding as a result of the warfarin. As it is difficult to predict the dose of warfarin that is required for each patient it usually entails checking the prothrombin time on a regular basis, this may become more of a problem if the use of alcohol is very haphazard. Again I stress the importance of your boyfriend talking to his cardiologist about this problem. He should also ask for some of the many handouts that are available about the use of warfarin, its side effects and drug interaction. It is also important to remind any physician that may be involved in your boyfriend's car that he is on warfarin before he is prescribed any new medications.
If any of you have any other questions, or you would like to have one of our congenital cardiologist evaluate your boyfriend please feel free to call 1-800-CCF-CARE for an appointment.
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