AF Association
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Warfarin self-testing

I've decided that I would feel very comfortable with self-testing and it would also give me confidence that I was in i.n.r. range at times when I know that perhaps I might not be - e.g. last time I had a blood test and then went on holiday to France the next day ( I do not receive my inr results until 2 days after blood test ). My G.P. then rang me on holiday to tell me that my inr was 3.5. My previous test had been 6 weeks earlier.

I would prefer to test every 2 weeks and be more in control.

At the surgery today I asked if I could self-test and was told that nobody in this health authority self -tests and I wouldn't be allowed. I know a lot of you do self-testing ,why is this a postcode lottery as whether you can or can't, surely the decision should be your own if you are capable of doing it.

I might just buy a machine for my own piece of mind, and of course I will have to buy the lancets and testing strips as they will not be prescribed for me on prescription.

What do you all think ? Should I buy ,at quite a considerable expense, or should I just carry on as before ?

8 Replies

I think the answer to this depends on your priorities and your financial situation. I get my strips on prescription but if I did not I would buy them. I am not rich but can afford this if necessary.

You would have to buy the machine anyway and that is £299. I think 24 strips cost about £60 and if you test every 2 weeks, they would last almost a year. The lancets are only pennies.

My machine always reads slightly higher than the hospital test ( eg my reading 2.7, hospital 2.5) but it is always consistent so I have faith that it is working well. Good luck with the decision. Marie


I would definitely buy one. If you have your own machine they prescribe some strips and then you could buy any more you need. You could just buy them all yourself. It works out about 2 pounds a strip.At least it would put your mind at rest in between clinic visits.Was it the nurse or a doctor that gave you the info? I have often found that going straight to the doctor gets better results. Which authority do you come under? It isn't right that we have such a struggle to be independent when all recent research shows that self testers stay in range for more time than they would do otherwise. We should all have the option to choose. X


Sorry I meant they Might prescribe some strips!


Having had my INR taken for the past 14 years, I have been subjected to different ways of having it taken, from Hospitals to clinics to surgerys. I there- fore count myself very lucky with the care I receive at present.

Gone has the the syringe to take blood from my arm, and wait for the results to be sent from the surgery to the hospital and back, (about 3/4 days) and in with the surgery using a finger prick and instant results. Instead of each fortnight waiting to give blood the old way, my turn round averages eight weeks/ even twelve as at present.

I wish all surgeries could do this( feejbee,) but alas they do not.

Perhaps you could ask your surgery if it may be more cost affective, and maybe get other INR patients involved.

In my opinion you really should not have to invest in purchases one. Remember you are allowed free care from the NHS.and an opinion.


Hi feejbee, Keep trying to get someone on side self testing is great! The anticoagulation nurse from the hospital where I was first diagnosed with AF and put on Warfarin wrote to my gp, she said she would help me get support and strips. It worked and I have had no problems. I am in Buckinghamshire. Good luck


There does appear to be a spread of opinions in local commissioning groups. Some will prescribe the strips and many will not. My local one tell me they do not and that the strips are £3.45 each. There is nothing to stop a patient with the finance available to buy their own but you would still need to discuss results with your surgery to adjust readings and yes aim for over 2.5 rather than below to allow for the inevitable differences in reading.


Thanks everyone. I think I shall bite the bullet and buy one for piece of mind.So long as I stay in range that'll be fine and if I don't I'll ring the surgery and ask for a blood test and they will alter the dose according to their results.Ridiculous really but that way everybody's happy.



I still have my blood test in the hospital - approximately every 8 weeks. On the day I am having it done I do one on my machine also and this way I can check readings against hospital readings thus ensuring my machine is working properly. I can then do my own readings whenever I want. I tend to do them every 2 weeks unless there is a reason to do it more often. The nurse in the clinic is happy for me to ring him if reading go very low or high or I can adjust dose myself. I am fairly new at this but I do think it really helps. Good luck with yours. Marie


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