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What is Acenocoumarol?

By J.M. Densing
Updated May 17, 2024
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Acenocoumarol is an anticoagulant medication, i.e., one that prevents the formation of blood clots, that works in a similar manner as warfarin by altering the action of vitamin K. It is used for the prevention of dangerous blood clots in individuals with disorders such as deep vein thrombosis and congestive heart failure. It interacts with a large number of other medications and should not be taken by pregnant women or those with medical conditions such as hemophilia, certain cancers, and other blood disorders. Side effects can be dangerous — such as uncontrollable bleeding — or milder including loss of appetite or bloating.

Available as an oral medication in tablet form, acenocoumarol is not currently prescribed in the United States. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anticoagulants which act in the body by preventing the formation of unwanted clots, usually by interfering with the production of substances called clotting factors. They are unable to dissolve existing clots, but are useful for the prevention of new ones. Acenocoumarol is known as a vitamin K antagonist which means that it alters the action of vitamin K in the body, thereby preventing the synthesis of an enzyme needed for the clotting process. This drug is used to prevent dangerous blood clots that could lead to strokes in patients with medical conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction or heart attack, and congestive heart failure.

Many different substances can alter the effects of acenocoumarol in the body, so it's important to discuss all medication and supplement use with the prescribing doctor to avoid potential problems. Examples of medicines that can interfere with acenocoumarol include hormone treatments, antifungals, aspirin, acid reducers, anti-inflammatories, psychoactive drugs, and corticosteroids. Alcohol and barbiturates should also be avoided as well as supplements containing vitamin K.

Pregnant women should not take acenocoumarol because it may cause birth defects or delays in a baby's cognitive and physical development. It may also cause severe bleeding in the unborn baby or at childbirth that can be fatal. Individuals with several other medical conditions should avoid using this medicine or may need extra monitoring. These conditions include hemophilia, cancer of certain internal organs, type 2 diabetes, heart infections, intestinal issues, liver disease, high blood pressure, major surgery, or other blood disorders.

Side effects of acenocoumarol can be dangerous; it can cause uncontrollable bleeding as well as internal bleeding with no apparent cause. Patients should be careful to avoid cutting or injuring their skin and should be alert to the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding such as abdominal pain and swelling, bloody waste products or vomit, dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, sudden weakness, or confusion. It these problems are suspected, immediate medical attention is required. Other mild side effects include loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, cold intolerance, and temporary hair loss.

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