Globetrotting with warfarin

August, 2015

Tales from your travels

When taking anticoagulants, there’s always a little more to think about when you’re off on your holidays. But thanks to the stories you shared with us on SelfieChek – we’re exchanging first-hand knowledge about travelling to Qatar, Japan, the USA and Spain. Below we share your medical experiences, your suggestions on where to go for treatment, what warfarin is called in selected countries (still ‘warfarin’ in Qatar and the USA); and even a few interesting facts about your destination.

Qatar

Exploring the land of the seven sheikdoms? You’ll have an amazing time discovering golden sand dunes and taking in the sights of this bustling quarter of the Middle East. But there’s one thing to bear in mind: although medical treatment in Qatar is exceptional, it’s also very costly. So it’s important to make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance.

So what happens in the unlikely event you feel unwell? Thankfully, most of the doctors in the clinics speak English. But Chris tells us if you are visiting, self-testing is a must. ‘Private hospitals in Qatar are good with many things, but monitoring INR and making helpful adjustments is not one of them! I spent a week in a hospital after they sent my INR up to 7.4’. So remember to stock up on supplies for your CoaguChek® device.

Japan

Whether it’s the ultra-modern skyline of Tokyo, or the stunning history of Kyoto, Japan has it all – including exceptional cuisine. Whilst you should sample all Japan has to offer, it is best to keep on top of your vitamin K intake. When visiting Japan a few years ago, Jilly didn’t realise that soy/soya beans were creating a jump in her INR. She explains ‘Because I was self-testing I found my INR had gone up to 5.8 and was able to safely manage it down to my 2.5 – 3.0 range with food and changing dose. I would have been in very unsafe territory without my CoaguChek’. Just in case you do end up needing to see a doctor, the name for warfarin out there is ‘Arefarin’.

One thing you might be surprised to know is that tipping is considered offensive in Japan. So if you’ve just had the best meal of your life, simply say ‘Arigatou gozaimas’ and bow as a sign of respect.

USA

A melting pot of culture, the USA isn’t short of well…anything. With titanic metropolises, breath-taking nature reserves, mind-blowing theme parks and surf kingdoms – you probably won’t find enough time to fit it all in. But a word of caution, the USA is renowned for its costly medical bills for those without insurance. As Anne puts it ‘my nurse told me to do weekly checks and adjust my meds accordingly as it’s very expensive to get a test and meds over there’. So it’s a good idea to take plenty of supplies with you.

Unlike Japan, tipping is a sign that you enjoyed the service you received. So if you had a particularly nice waiter or waitress, give them a little something extra. Just make sure the service charge hasn’t already been added to your bill, to avoid tipping twice.

Spain

At the heart of Europe, Spain is soaked with sunshine and bursting with tradition. A plus point for Brits, (EU) citizens can get hold of the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to free or discounted medical treatment at state-run hospitals and local general practitioners. Although do bear in mind it is not an alternative to travel insurance.

Be careful though, as Maureen tells us that ‘Spanish doctors will have nothing to do with self-testing. However, on receiving my self-testing device, I was able to self-test and compare my results to those of the local clinic and learn for myself how to manage the process when we were travelling’. So again, it’s safe to plan ahead with medical supplies and also know that warfarin is called ‘Warfarina’ or ‘Aldocumar’ in Spain.

The Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) plaza in Madrid is the physical centre of the country. So be sure to check it out if you’re in Madrid.

If you have a self-testing story from your travels, why not tell us by posting on our Facebook page?

Now in Qatar they have pharmacist-managed anticoagulation clinics for speedy results Also look below: The first pharmacist-managed anticoagulation clinic under a collaborative practice agreement in Qatar: clinical and patient-oriented outcomes. Elewa HF1, AbdelSamad O2, Elmubark AE1,3, Al-Taweel HM1, Mohamed A2, Kheir N1, Mohamed Ibrahim MI1, Awaisu A1.

If you would like to make it easier to buy, take advantage of our interest free Easy Payment Plan, spread over 12 or 24 months.*

Available via the Care Line team. For more details please call 0808 100 7666.

CoaguChek® INRange meter kit available from £12.45** per month, excl. VAT

(24 x monthly payments of just £12.45**,12 x monthly payments of just £24.91**,total price £299) CoaguChek INRange test strips are available on prescription or you can buy online directly from Roche***

* T&Cs apply **Interest free Easy Payment Plan – Patient only (maximum 1 individual purchase). Individual patients can benefit from an Easy Payment Plan, spreading the cost interest free over 12 or 24 months.  In these cases the patient will need to make the purchase and a credit check will be required.
Representative example:
Cash Price £299
Total amount of credit £299
Interest rate 0% fixed
Pay either £24.91 per month for 12 months or £12.45 per month for 24 months
0% APR representative
Total amount payable £298.92 over 12 months or £298.80 over 24 months
This finance option is available through Roche Diagnostics Limited, Charles Avenue, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9RY. Roche Diagnostics Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Credit is provided by Hitachi Personal Finance, a division of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Prices are correct at time of preparation (November 2014). Prices are correct at time of last update (November 2016). Prices and finance options are subject to change. Finance requires credit checks before approval. *** Test strips are required and are available on prescription (GP’s discretion, prescription charges may apply). Care Line operational hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm. Patients who are chronically sick are eligible for VAT exemption, for more information please refer to HM Revenue and Customs on 0300 200 3700
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