Comparing Different Routes and Doses of Phytonadione for Reversing Excessive Anticoagulation

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Significant controversy exists concerning how best to reverse excessive anticoagulation (due to warfarin sodium therapy) with phytonadione (vitamin K1 ) while avoiding overcorrection in patients who need to have anticoagulation therapy maintained.


A retrospective review of phytonadione use in reversing excessive anticoagulation was performed in 3 institutions. The effectiveness of low-dose ( < or= to 0.5 mg) intravenous (LDIV), high-dose (1-10 mg) intravenous (HDIV), subcutaneous (1-10 mg) (SC), and oral (2.5 or 5 mg) (PO) phytonadione was evaluated within 48 hours of administration. Anticoagulation correction (international normalized ratio [INR], >or= to 2.0 and < or= to 5.0) occurred in 5 of 8 patients in the LDIV, 5 of 9 in the HDIV, 7 of 10 in the SC, and 5 of 6 in the PO groups. Correction was inadequate (INR >5.0) in 2 of 8 patients in the LDIV, 0 of 9 in the HDIV, 3 of 10 in the SC, and 1 of 6 in the PO groups. Overcorrection (INR <2.0) occurred in 1 patient in the LDIV, 4 patients in the HDIV, 0 in the SC, and 0 in the PO groups.


Anticoagulation correction was achieved in most patients in all 4 groups. The HDIV method was most effective in lowering the INR to less than 5.0, but overcorrection occurred more frequently (4 patients in the HDIV vs 1 patient in the LDIV and 0 patients in the SC and PO groups). Failure to achieve an INR of less than 5.0 was a greater problem in the SC group (3 patients in the SC vs 2 patients in the LDIV and 1 patient in the PO groups). The LDIV and PO methods appear to be acceptable alternatives to the HDIV and SC methods currently recommended.

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