Coagulation is the term used to describe the normal process your body uses to help you form a blood clot to stop bleeding. Substances the body produces, called clotting factors, help in this process.
Drugs used to decrease blood clotting are called anticoagulants because they work against (anti) blood clot formation (coagulation). When you are given these drugs, you are undergoing anticoagulation therapy.
Warfarin is an anticoagulant. The generic name of Coumadin is warfarin. Warfarin helps treat your medical condition by slowing down the activity of clotting factors. This decreases the chance of harmful blood clots forming and blocking your blood vessels.
Warfarin does not dissolve blood clots that are already formed, but it does slow further clot formation. Clots that were present before anticoagulation treatment was started will usually dissolve in time.
The length of time that you will be treated with warfarin depends on why you are taking it. Length of treatment can range from as little as several weeks to lifelong therapy.