Monday, April 27, 2015

Letter W: The Choose Your Poison #AtoZChallenge


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Britannica_Rat_-_Brown_Rat.png
It would be most disconcerting if your doctor wrote you a prescription for rat poison. Yet that is exactly what has happened if you or a family member has taken Warfarin (brand name Coumadin) for preventing thrombosis or thromboembolism (blood clot).

Warfarin was initially introduced in 1948 as a pesticide against rats and mice, and is still used for this purpose today although better controls are available. The name Warfarin is derived from Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation which funded studies, and coumarin. It is a synthetic form of an anti-coagulant originally discovered in spoiled sweet clover animal feed.

Patients being treated with Warfarin need to have their blood monitored on a regular basis, and since levels of vitamin K can affect the blood clotting ability, dietary intake of foods high in that vitamin (like leafy green vegetables) must be regulated as well.

This is yet another example of a "poison" being put to use in a therapeutic manner under tightly controlled circumstances.

8 comments:

  1. I'd still be very worried if I had to take it.

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    1. I think problems arise if the patient isn't monitored closely or doesn't follow instructions. My husband took it for several years and didn't have any issues.

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  2. My father is alive because of warfarin, for that I thank a rat poison.

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    1. It's saved countless lives, especially those who suffer from potential blood clot formation and/or stroke. For it's time, it was a bit of a wonder drug.

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    2. Aaaaargh! For its time. Not it's. "It's" is a contraction of it is. (My comment above.)
      I do know the difference.
      I deserve a flogging.

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    3. no, just blame autocorrect!

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  3. A blood thinner for rat poison. Huh.

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    Replies
    1. In large quantities (for killing rodents) it causes hemorrhage and massive internal bleeding. In minute and controlled amounts, (people) it thins the blood in patients who have conditions which cause the blood to thicken and clot.
      2 very different faces of the same coin. :)

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