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Anticoagulation Therapy

Anticoagulation therapy is a course of drug therapy in which medications are administered to a patient to slow the rate at which the patient's blood clots. Anticoagulants are often referred to as “blood thinners,” which is misleading because these drugs do not “thin” the blood. Anticoagulants inhibit the formation of clotting agents so that the blood cannot clot as easily.

Patients taking anticoagulant medications need information about these drugs so they can work with their physician and pharmacist to reduce the risk of complications. It is important to learn how these drugs should be used, their possible side effects and when to seek medical attention should an episode of excessive bleeding occur. In fact, recent studies show that patients who participate in an anticoagulation management program:

  • Have fewer complications due to bleeding or clotting
  • Need fewer emergency department visits
  • Require fewer blood tests

The Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service (SAMS) is a nationally recognized Center of Excellence in Anticoagulation. SAMS strives to improve patient outcomes by partnering with physicians to offer patients additional support and assistance during their course of anticoagulation therapy. This care is not meant to replace the care offered by your physician. It supplements the care you already receive.

Our program is designed to:

  • Provide comprehensive patient education about anticoagulation therapy
  • Improve adherence to treatment regimens, including medications, dietary restrictions and keeping follow-up appointments
  • Increase awareness of the signs of a potential problem – and know when to seek help
  • Reduce emergency room visits and hospital readmissions as a result of bleeding or clotting complications

If you have been prescribed an anticoagulation medication (such as Coumadin®/Warfarin or newer agents, such as Xarelto®/Rivaroxaban or Eliquis®/Apixaban), talk to your physician about getting a referral to the Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service Program located at Summa Health System – Akron Campus, 95 Arch, Suite G50.

To learn more, view answers to frequently asked Anticoagulation therapy questions below or make an appointment today.

Anticoagulation Therapy FAQs

How does the Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service benefit me?

The Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service has a track record of low bleeding and clotting complication occurrence compared to the national average. Our team provides you with:

  • Easy access to a pharmacist and/or a nurse with special training in anticoagulation therapy
  • Evidence-based medication management
  • Urgent evaluations for changes in clinical status
  • Support from a pharmacist and/or a nurse in making changes to diet and medication
  • Ongoing patient and family education
  • Higher time in therapeutic range (TTR) than the national standard for patients taking Warfarin

Are there risks involved with anticoagulation therapy?

While this therapy is important, it is not without risks. There are many drugs (both prescription and nonprescription) that can interact with anticoagulant medications. Eating certain foods also can interfere with the effectiveness of anticoagulant medications by increasing or decreasing the ability of blood to clot – which increases the risk for developing a blood clot or causing excessive bleeding. Careful monitoring by a healthcare professional is required to avoid bleeding or clotting complications.

What if I’m on a newer anticoagulation medication? Do I still need monitoring?

While there is no INR monitoring for some of the newer anticoagulant medications, they still require monitoring by a healthcare provider to ensure you don’t have any bleeding or clotting complications. The Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service clinic offers monitoring programs for these agents that consist of office visits every 3-12 months, phone calls, and checking necessary labs when needed.

Newer anticoagulant medications include:

  • Apixaban®/Eliquis
  • Rivaroxaban®/Xarelto
  • Dabigatran®/Pradaxa
  • Edoxaban®/Savaysa

What can I expect during visits?

During your initial visit to the Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service clinic:

  • You will meet with a nurse or pharmacist with special training in the use of anticoagulants.
  • If you are on Warfarin (also known as Coumadin or Jantoven®), your finger will be pricked with a needle to draw a small blood sample for INR testing (to measure the ability of your blood to clot).
  • The pharmacist or nurse will ask questions to check for any bleeding or clotting problems.
  • Your medication dosage will be adjusted by a pharmacist or nurse (if needed).
  • You will receive educational instruction from a pharmacist or nurse during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions about your therapy.
  • Subsequent visits with the nurse or pharmacist will occur at regular intervals, depending on the type of anticoagulant medication you are taking.

We will share information about your progress and provide a status update to your physician on an as-needed basis.

How can I participate or learn more?

Contact the Summa Health Anticoagulation Management Service clinic at 330.375.3226.


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.