Self-Testing May Be Good For You

  • You are on long-term warfarin anticoagulation therapy.
  • You have a good line of communication with your doctor or healthcare providers and follow your doctor’s instructions and treatment plans successfully.
  • You have a good personal support network at home.
  • You may benefit from the convenience of self-testing, because, for example, you presently do not drive, you have to rely on someone else or a caregiver for transportation, you have a schedule that does not easily accommodate routine or frequent travel for blood tests.
  • You are interested in testing your INR more frequently for an added layer of confidence, because, for example, you have a history of fluctuating INRs, you are starting on another new medication, you have changed your diet recently, or you have another illness.
  • You enjoy or frequently travel and self-testing will allow for easier travel, especially to other states or countries, where patients may not know what service providers are available to them or where there may be language barriers.
  • You dislike or are afraid of needles or have a difficult time producing blood from a vein draw.

Self-Testing May Not Be a Good Fit For You

  • You have the clotting condition antiphospholipid syndrome, which may interfere with self-testing INR results.
  • You are anemic, which can disrupt or cause INR test results to fluctuate frequently.
  • You are not physically able to perform the test at home. For example, a diagnosis of arthritis might make it difficult to hold the test strips and get an accurate reading.
  • You are apprehensive about self-testing, do not understand how it works, or might not be able to follow through with doctor recommendations and instructions.
  • You are not able to access the equipment through your insurance provider or you are not able to afford the cost of the equipment.
  • You have alcohol or recreational drug issues.
 

Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to INR Self-Testing

If you are a warfarin patient considering the use of an in-home testing device to check your INR, you first need to determine if you are a good candidate for INR self-testing. You can print out the checklist below and answer the questions before scheduling an appointment to speak with your healthcare provider about your options for self-testing.

Yes No
Do you take warfarin and plan to be taking it 90 days or longer?

Have you been told you are at risk for a blood clot or have one or more of the following medical conditions:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in leg)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung)
  • Atrial fibrillation or irregular heart beat
  • Mechanical heart valve
  • A medical condition that increases your risk for blood clots
Do you dislike or have a fear of getting blood drawn through your vein or do you have frequent INR tests or tests one, two or three times per week?
Are you good at communicating with your doctor and other healthcare providers and following the direction they provide to you about your healthcare and health treatments?
Do you live far away from the lab where your blood draws are taken, or are you unable to drive?
Do you travel frequently?
Do you have a schedule that does not permit regular appointments?
Are you physically able to perform a self-INR test, or do you have a caregiver to assist you in administering the test?

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About INR Home Self-Testing

After completing the questionnaire above, you can discuss your answers at your next doctor’s appointment and also get answers to the questions below before making a decision about whether or not to test your INR at home.

  1. Based on the information I supplied in the INR self-testing checklist, do you think that I am I a good candidate for at-home INR monitoring?

  2. Can I get a prescription for a home testing device?

  3. If yes, can you help me find out what the cost will be or help me identify resources that might be available to help me with the out-of-pocket costs not covered by my insurance plan?

  4. How will I be trained to use the self-testing device properly?

  5. How often do I need to test my INR at home?

  6. How will I communicate my results to your office or lab?

  7. How will you (the healthcare provider) communicate back to me my results and any adjustments in the dosage of my warfarin that I might need to make?

 

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