Warfarin was first used in rat poisons in 1948. Today, it is still being used, but more potent poisons such brodifacoum are becoming more popular. Before, rat poison contain 0.025% warfarin, but now, bigger amounts are added because rats have already developed resistance to this drug.
Warfarin (also known by the brand names Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, Uniwarfin) 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. Warfarin is commonly but incorrectly referred to as a blood thinner. 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 thromboembolism 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.
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. 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.
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