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Answers to Common Questions About Warfarin and INR Testing

Facts About Warfarin

What is Warfarin? What conditions does it treat?

Warfarin is an anticoagulant used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in your blood vessels. Often referred to by the misnomer “blood thinner,” anticoagulants, such as warfarin (or a brand of warfarin such as Coumadin®), help prevent clots from forming in the blood by decreasing the clotting ability of the blood.

Anticoagulants are prescribed for those at increased risk of developing harmful blood clots, including people who have experienced an irregular heartbeat or those with a mechanical heart valve. Your doctor may have also prescribed warfarin if you have experienced a stroke, heart attack, a clot that traveled to the lung, or a clot in the leg. People taking warfarin will need to test their blood on a regular schedule.

What are Warfarin’s side effects?

Most people on warfarin notice they bruise more easily than before they started the medication, or it takes longer for their blood to clot if they get cuts. Although such symptoms are common warfarin side effects, you should contact your healthcare provider if you experience them.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe or prolonged nose bleeds
  • Red, dark yellow, or cloudy urine
  • Bloody or black, tarry stool
  • Bruising without cause, meaning you did not hit that part of your body on anything, you didn’t fall, and no trauma has occurred
  • Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts
  • Bloody or coffee-ground like vomit
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent severe headaches, backaches (especially upper-mid backache), or stomach pain. These symptoms could be a sign of internal bleeding, so immediate medical attention is critical.

What are INR levels and how often should I test them?

INR stands for International Normalized Ratio, and it is a standardized number that measures the amount of time it takes for your blood to clot. People taking anti-clotting medicines or anticoagulants need to test their blood regularly to ensure their INR remains within the range deemed best for them by their physician. And the “best” testing frequency is the one your doctor prescribed for you.

Regular testing may not be easy if you have your blood drawn at a lab or doctor’s office. Monitoring your INR at home requires a prescription and the support of your doctor, but people who test their INR at home eliminate the need to travel to a lab or their healthcare provider for routine testing. And Medicare and many private insurance companies cover home INR Monitoring.

How should I take Warfarin?

You should take warfarin EXACTLY as your doctor prescribes it to you. Most doctors ask people to take their warfarin at the same time every day, preferably in the evening. While you are on warfarin, it will be necessary to check your blood to see if the medication is doing its job and remains within your physician-prescribed range. Checking your blood will require a blood draw or a fingerstick to check your INR, the measurement that represents the time it takes for your blood to clot.

How can I travel and still not miss a test?

Your INR meter is designed to be portable and packable, no matter where you go. Whether you are traveling for the day or a month, you’ll never have to miss a test or try to find a local lab when you are part of Acelis Connected Health’s home testing service. Acelis Connected Health’s services are perfect for snowbirds who travel seasonally because the service goes with you no matter where you stay* or for how long.

*Acelis Connected Health service requires telephone or internet connectivity, and applicable data rates may apply.

Why is testing my INR important?

The INR (International Normalized Ratio) is a blood test measuring how long it takes for your blood to clot. It tells your doctor or nurse if your warfarin dose needs adjusting or is at the correct level for you. Being within your prescribed range one or two times in a row does not mean your next test will match your previous results. Many things, including the foods you eat and the medication you take, can affect warfarin’s effectiveness. The only way to know if you are in range is by performing an INR test.

FAQs About Acelis Connected Health

How does Acelis Connected Health’s service work?

Acelis Connected Health enables you to easily check your INR levels from wherever you are – freeing you from frequent trips to the lab or doctor's office to live your life on your terms. From providing a medical-grade INR meter and testing supplies, to offering qualified training and delivering test results directly to your doctor, even reminding you if you miss reporting a blood test, Acelis Connected Health is there for you.

What kind of training is provided by Acelis Connected Health?

Acelis Connected Health believes that proper training is the key to home INR monitoring success. Our goal is to ensure your success and confidence in testing your INR at home. We are the leading national service provider for patient self-testing and the only one that offers personalized training for our customers. Additionally, our customer support representatives are available to answer your questions and provide testing assistance.

Where and how do I record my testing results?

Reporting your results is easy! We offer multiple options to report your results, including our HealthCheck mobile app, online at www.achhealthcheck.com, or our self-service automated telephone system at 1-855-209-8400.

FAQs About INR Self-Testing

Why do you need to know private information such as my birth date or my doctor’s name?

Acelis Connected Health strives to make testing your INR at home convenient for you every step of the way. We use the information you provide to determine your insurance eligibility and provide accurate pricing. We work directly with your doctor to obtain a prescription for Acelis Connected Health’s services. Once you are signed up and testing on your own, we use your doctor’s information to ensure that your healthcare provider receives your test results promptly. Your healthcare provider will be in touch with you if a change to your medication is required.

Where does the meter come from? How do I get supplies for testing?

Acelis Connected Health will provide you with your meter and testing supplies.

Where can I get more information about my meter?

For an in-depth look at how to work your meter, be sure to watch the How to Perform a Self-Test video.

Click here for information on setting the time and date on your meter.

For more help with your meter, including changing the batteries or troubleshooting testing issues, please refer to the User Manual for Self-Testing, or contact our Customer Support Department at 1-877-262-4669, option 3.

I’m having trouble testing, what should I do?

Acelis Connected Health is here to help you with questions or problems that arise from the test-at-home process. From questions about the fingerstick process to queries about how to post results, our experienced support representatives are dedicated to providing you with the service you deserve. For help with testing, please contact our Customer Support Department at 1-877-262-4669, option 3.

Will taking a new medication or supplement affect my INR?

While taking warfarin it is important to inform your doctor about the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including pain relievers, cold medicines, and herbal supplements.

Do I need to watch my diet when taking Warfarin?

Understanding how diet can affect your INR is essential to living a healthy life while on warfarin. Although there is no specific “warfarin diet,” it is important to pay attention to what you eat while taking warfarin, as some foods and beverages can alter its effectiveness.

The most important thing to remember is to remain consistent with your diet. Consistency in diet means being aware of the type of foods you choose every day, paying attention to your portion sizes, and being aware of how frequently you consume foods high in Vitamin K.

What happens if I forget to test or don’t report my results?

We will remind you! If you or your loved one doesn’t report their test results according to the testing schedule prescribed by the doctor, our Testing Services team will reach out to remind them.

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