Warfarin and Diarrhea

Hi everyone.

Can anyone help me with this. Having started warfarin 6 weeks ago and taking an increasing dose. at present 37mg per week I am now finding I am having diarrhea almost daily. As I am not yet more than 1.5 I can see the dose being increased again and do not think I will be able to manage this. I have another INR test in 5 days time when I will ask about this but if anyone has experienced this and can tell me how it was handled I would be happier going to the appointment with as much knowledge as I can.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Boxing day.


25 Replies

  • Never had this problem but you may find imodium helps. Talk to your doctor or the INR clinic about this. I don't think it is unknown for a few people to suffer this way although it isn't general.

  • Hi Joyce, yes apparently Warfarin is known for this, I also have this problem. I am also on Diltiazem which can also cause it. I take 15 mg to 30 mg Codeine Phosphate when it happens. There is no interaction with the other medication and it helps with the arthritis. Might be a good idea to discuss with your GP (or the clinic).

  • Could you switch to Pradoxa (dabigatran) I have only been on a week but relieved there seem little side effects at least at this time. You have to take twice a day with a full glass of water and a meal as it can have stomach issues also but not apparently if you do these things. Good luck

  • Nuisance these drugs aren't they. Lucky for me, I'm on one drug that cause diarrhea, and another that cause constipation. Seem to balance each other out just about right ;-)

  • I have to say that made me lol. Thanks for my morning giggle.

  • Hi Joyce, I had this problem which was also made worse by taking Metformin. They could not get my INR in range despite months of trying. In the end I was taken off the Warfarin and put on Pradaxa. While they were trying to sort me out I was advised to take Imodium.

    I hope they get you sorted soon.

  • Thank you so much. Yes I also take Metformin. That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for.


  • I hope they get you sorted Joyce, I know how draining this can be and it also controls when you can go out which is no fun. I was visiting my clinic weekly to have my INR tested. I feel like I have more control over my life now rather than being controlled by the medication.

  • I can't help wondering why Warfarin is still prescribed when the new alternatives, ie. Apixaban seem to have no side effects, don't need monitoring, and work better.

  • My EP won't prescribe the new drugs for me because Warfarin is tried and tested and also (the main reason he gave me) because in the event of an accident I can have vitamin K to reverse the Warfarin, and that will work in 20 minutes. I'm a farmer so at fairly high risk of an accident.

  • Cause still no antidote......

  • Joyce

    I'm sorry you not been well over Christmas. Things don't seem to be going very easily or smoothly for you on Warfarin, hope they can sort you out, AF messes us about enough without the meds starting. A lot of people (including myself) don't report any issues on Warfarin so maybe they will be able to suggest an alternative for you.


  • I also take 37mg a week, but that is a maintenance dose for me (male, 86kgs)

    I would have thought that you need an increase to get to INR 2-3.

    6 weeks seems a long time to only achieve 1.5, when non coagulated is 1.

  • Hi Joyce, i am on warfarin i started at 1.8 but have not been put on a high dose, been on Warfarin over a year now and i am fine, i started off with 3mg plus 1mg for several weeks, until my INR started going up i am now inbetween 2.0 and 2.3 and on 3 mg but everyone is different, might be best if ask them why on a high dose, good Luck i am sure they will sort it out for you,


  • Yes--- Had the same problem for 5 months. Doctor convinced nothing to do with Warfarin. My EP supported me in requesting a change of anti-coagulant and now on Rivaroxaban. No regrets, no stomach problems at all !!!

  • Hi, I have been mumbling to myself for 6 months since starting warfarin that my tummy feels very uncomfortable much of the time especially after lunch, sometimes stopping me going out. Not certain what might happen. nobody has really listened but am realising I must now push for a change myself, bit scared though. Kath

  • Thanks Kath,

    I feel the same as you. Took me a long time to start Warfarin and now do not think I can stay on it. Guess I will have a battle at my next appointment to convince them I have a real problem and trouble is I do not now want to stop warfarin and have to start all again on something else. Yes, I am scared of what is next.


  • HI Joyce, I am on 6mg daily and have reached the heady delights of an INR of 2.2 twice in 6 months, it usually floats around at 2. I also get pains down the front of my shins and in my joints and I know this sounds crazy but I think the skin on my hands has a strange smell to it especially when I wake up in the morning . I get up wash my hands but the smell is still there, I take my warfarin at around 10.30 at night and have wondered if this is warfarin related. I have never had anything like this before. I opted for warfarin as it is tried and tested and am a bit scared about changing. Everyone tells me these are not attributed to warfarin but am going to do a bit of trawling around the internet to see if others find the same problems, I do hope you have a positive outcome from GP visit, I am having INR checked on Friday I definitely dont want to take more. best wishes Kath

  • Thank-you.

    I am gathering all this information so that I can be ready and armed with information for my next clinic appointment on Wednesday.


  • Please let me know how you get on. good luck Kath

  • Hi Kath,

    Well my appointment was very disappointing. Only saw the nurse as the doctor in charge of the warfarin clinic is away this week.

    I have at least reached 2 now, so no need for a higher dose thankfully. Nurse said she had not had anyone else with this problem and frankly I do not think she had a clue what to say. I have another appointment next Friday ( different nurse ) and told just to manage if possible until then, did not seem keen for me to take Imodium. So just trying to sort it myself by eating toast and being very careful to eat only bland food. It all just feels as if no one has any answers and it is a case of get on with it!

    Fingers crossed I might get a better response next week. Joyce

  • Hi Joyce, that must be disappointing for you.Just because the person you see hasn't come across something before doesn't mean it doesn't happen! I have rummaged through various sites and it does seem that gastro intestinal problems do affect some warfarin takers. I have tried cutting out things that I think might cause the problem but the problem for me is still there. I can't find any other references to skin having a strange smell but I think if you need higher doses to get or stay in range we don't metabolise the drug the same as other people and this may cause the problems. I am off to surgery tomorrow see what's happened over holiday period. I do want to change but as I said before am scared, will have to make appt with G.P at some time. I do wish that I had opted for one of new anti coagulants when offered 6 months ago, hindsight is such a wonderful thing! After a total change of eating habits over last 3 weeks i hope things haven't changed too much. best wishes Kath

  • Hi Joyce, well went for INR yesterday ,It was 2.1 that is after a week of a really horrible cough and cold and a totally messed up diet. But my tummy was a big problem yesterday. I now really don't know what to do regarding warfarin on the one hand I am in range on the other it causes me problems. The cold has now left me with not being able to hear too well sense of taste gone and a cough that is driving my family mad etc asked chemist today what I could take to get rid of catarrh and he said he could nt recommend anything because of taking warfarin which is rather annoying. I will have to think hard about what to do but like you it took me a very long time to decide about anti coagulants. I do hope you get a better response next week, I go back in 3 weeks so Ihave a bit of thinking time. best wishes kath

  • Oh Kath,

    You sound just like me. I agree the tummy problems are much more of a problem than the AF as I do not have it very often (when worried!!!!!) I know you know how that feels. Have eaten 2 slices of toast the last few days which does seem to have made the diarrhea a little less, but the stomach wind is what is getting to me now. I have decided to try Actimel and see if that will help. I will let you know if I have any success. At least this week my appointment is with a nurse I really click with so hoping I shall get more out of her. Then of course that is more decisions to make.

    I really do not want to change from Warfarin now I have made the leap but this wind is so uncomfortable not to mention EMBARASSING .

    Let me know if you do decide on a change, talking to someone who really understands what it is like to worry over everything is so nice.

    Keep well. Joyce

  • Hi Joyce, I certainly will keep in touch but again bothered today by griping tummy pains on the way to the cinema.It always seems to be after lunch. I wish I knew what to do. Am back at work tomorrow so will see how things go over the next week. It's weird when I first started on warfarin I had a very strange pain in my liver area a bit of a gnawing pain and I also developed very itchy patches on my feet. I kept telling the medical staff about it but they didn't really listen. These went after time but the tummy turbulence has never gone, maybe it will go given time but 6 months seems a long time. Hope you get something sorted next week. Best wishes Kath.

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