Frequently Asked Questions about INR Machines

Are There Any Challenges to In-Home Testing?

It is a battery-operated test meter for measuring the blood-thinning effects of warfarin. Test strips are placed in an opening on the meter, and results are displayed on a screen.

This article will answer some frequent questions patients have when using INR machines. It will also mention some things before starting to take INR tests at home.

What is the INR Target Range?

The primary objective of tracking your vitamin K antagonist (VKA) dosages is to stay within your doctor’s advised target range. Generally speaking, an INR target therapeutic range of 2.0 to 3.0 is nearly 4-9, but this depends on the sign for which you are obtaining a VKA and other variables. 6,7,10. Consult your doctor and follow their suggestions regarding the proper range for you.


What Blood Tests Do I Need?

A tiny quantity of your blood will be analyzed to check how quickly your blood clots. This is a sample of your finger or arm. Your supplier may also reveal your prothrombin time, also known as protime (PT).


Why Do I Need Blood Tests?

Trying to keep your blood from forming clots is a complicated matter that your provider closely monitors. Therefore, you will be given an INR range.

  • If your INR remains within your target range, your chances of bleeding or getting a clot are low.
  • If your INR is higher than the normal range, you could be more likely to be bleeding.
  • If your INR is below the normal range, you may be more likely to form a blood clot.

This is why your blood should be tested regularly. Blood tests are performed so that your provider can determine if you are taking the correct dose. This prevents you from bleeding and clotting.


How Often Do I Need an INR?

Blood tests may be needed every few days or every week when you take warfarin for the first time. When your INR and warfarin dosages are steady, blood tests are usually done every 2 to 4 weeks, and sometimes even more frequently. Your INR may need to be tested more regularly if your dose changes. You must have your blood drawn when instructed. If you cannot attend a scheduled appointment, contact your health care provider to reschedule.


What can Change my INR?

There are a few factors that affect your INR. Therefore, it is critical to notify your provider of any charges listed below. This is so that your INR can be tested, and your warfarin dose can be adjusted if necessary.

The following factors can have an impact on your warfarin:

  • Illnesses like diarrhea or fever
  • Consuming more or fewer vitamin K-rich foods
  • Changes in medication
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Dose omissions
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Changes in your level of activity


What If my INR Results are Out of Range?

Blood clots may not form quickly if your INR is too high and bruising or bleeding may occur. However, even if your INR is not high, you could still be at risk for increased clotting. 9 If your INR value is outside the suggested target range, talk to your doctor.


Can I Have Alcohol While Taking a Vitamin K Antagonist?

Alcohol consumption can increase the impact of your medication and slow your clotting rate, even more, resulting in an elevated INR. You should avoid it if you are taking vitamin K antagonist medication. Consult your doctor about what is best for you.


Are There Any Challenges to In-Home Testing?

In-home INR testing is not for everyone, and it has its drawbacks. One significant difficulty is that at-home testing equipment may be less reliable than testing in a clinic. Dr. Collins discovered that some equipment might be up to 20-30% inaccurate when testing INR levels. “It’s not as exact as a hospital blood draw, but we have extra instruments to assure we’re getting the correct result,” Dr. Collins explained. “We have measures in place to aid with that.” Patients who self-test must also be aware that they may have to return to the clinic for testing if their INR levels are high.

Like all kinds of therapy and testing, INR in-home testing offers advantages and disadvantages. However, it’s not the proper testing approach for every patient. If you want to pursue in-home testing, talk to your healthcare physician.


Things to Consider Before you Transition to Home Testing

Before moving to home testing, you should get your INR checked at a lab or hospital a few times. Before you begin self-testing, your healthcare professional must ensure that your warfarin dosage is stable. Most insurance companies need individuals to be on warfarin and undergo lab tests for 3 months before transitioning to home testing. (During COVID-19, several plans waived this condition.)

The health insurance coverage for home testing differs per plan. Many insurance companies cover the fees of home testing. However, some patients may be required to pay a copay or other out-of-pocket expenses.

Most insurance providers also ask that you test your levels at least every 2 weeks, and other policies require weekly testing. So, if you’ve taken a blood test once a month or every 6 weeks in the past, you may need to test yourself 2-3 times more regularly. If the firms who offer the machines and training do not hear from you within a couple of weeks, they will tell you to submit your report.


Have these answers helped you in your struggles with taking the INR test?

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