BMET Wiki
Advertisement

About[]

Warfarin (also known under the brand names Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, Lawarin, Waran, and Warfant) is an anticoagulant normally used in the prevention of thrombosis and thromboembolism, the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels and their migration elsewhere in the body respectively. It was initially introduced in 1948 as a pesticide against rats and mice and is still used for this purpose, although more potent poisons such as brodifacoum have since been developed. In the early 1950s warfarin was found to be effective and relatively safe for preventing thrombosis and embolism (abnormal formation and migration of blood clots) in many disorders. It was approved for use as a medication in 1954 and has remained popular ever since; warfarin is the most widely prescribed oral anticoagulant drug in North America.[1]

Despite its effectiveness, treatment with warfarin has several shortcomings. Many commonly used medications interact with warfarin, as do some foods (particularly leaf vegetable foods or "greens," since these typically contain large amounts of vitamin K1) and its activity has to be monitored by blood testing for the international normalized ratio (INR) to ensure an adequate yet safe dose is taken.[2] A high INR predisposes to a high risk of bleeding, while an INR below the therapeutic target indicates that the dose of warfarin is insufficient to protect against thromboembolic events.

Warfarin and related 4-hydroxycoumarin-containing molecules decrease blood coagulation by inhibiting vitamin K epoxide reductase, an enzyme that recycles oxidized vitamin K1 to its reduced form after it has participated in the carboxylation of several blood coagulation proteins, mainly prothrombin and factor VII. Despite being labeled a vitamin K antagonist,[2] warfarin does not antagonize the action of vitamin K1, but rather antagonizes vitamin K1 recycling, depleting active vitamin K1.[3] Thus, the pharmacologic action may always be reversed by fresh vitamin K1. When administered, these drugs do not anticoagulate blood immediately. Instead, onset of their effect requires about a day before remaining active clotting factors have had time to naturally disappear in metabolism, and the duration of action of a single dose of warfarin is 2 to 5 days. Reversal of warfarin's effect when it is discontinued or vitamin K1 is administered, requires a similar time.

Warfarin is a synthetic derivative of dicoumarol, a 4-hydroxycoumarin-derived mycotoxin anticoagulant originally discovered in spoiled sweet clover-based animal feeds. Dicoumarol, in turn, is derived from coumarin, a sweet-smelling but coagulation-inactive chemical found naturally in "sweet" clover (to which it gives its odor and name), tonka beans (also known as "cumaru" from which coumarin's name derives) and many other plants. The name warfarin stems from its discovery at the University of Wisconsin, incorporating the acronym for the organization which funded the key research (WARF, for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) and the ending -arin, indicating its link with coumarin.


References[]

  1. Holbrook AM, Pereira JA, Labiris R, McDonald H, Douketis JD, Crowther M, Wells PS (May 2005). "Systematic overview of warfarin and its drug and food interactions". Arch. Intern. Med. 165 (10): 1095–106. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.10.1095. PMID 15911722.
  2. Ansell J, Hirsh J, Hylek E, et al. (2008). "Pharmacology and management of the vitamin K antagonists: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (8th Edition)". Chest 133 (6 Suppl): 160S–198S. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0670. PMID 18574265.
  3. Holford NH. Clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of warfarin. Understanding the dose-effect relationship. Clin Pharmacokinet 1986; 11: 483–504.

Links[]

Advertisement