The Story of Warfarin

Warfarin (Warfarin) is a drug used against coagulation in the cardiovascular system. But it was a rat poison before it was discovered as a medicine.

In the early 1900s, farmers in America faced catastrophe that happened to herds of cattle. An unknown disease that has never been seen in animals occurs. Internal bleeding started in cattle and died within a few months. Even with simple procedures such as sterilization, horn cutting and ear piercing, bleeding in animals started and could not be stopped. Farmers, who were also economically challenged, consulted veterinarians and experts at the university to seek the cure.

As a result of the researches, it was understood that the cause of this disease in cattle herds was moldy sweet clover. In the blood samples taken from animals, the substance called prothrombin, which causes blood to clot, is also reported to be extremely low. There was a compound in the moldy sweet clover called dicumarol, which was responsible for the bleeding caused by the binding of coumarins.

In the following years, they tried dicumaroli as mouse poison. They also patented mouse poison under the name warfarin. The name warfarin consisted of the first letters of the Wisconsin alumni research foundation (the Wisconsin alumni research foundation) and the last four letters of “coumarin.” The poison became widespread in a short time and sold 70 thousand tons in the USA in 10 years.

The use of warfarin in humans was discovered by accident. A soldier who had just entered the army had attempted suicide by becoming depressed and drinking rat poison. The novice soldier who was taken to the emergency room was still alive, despite receiving a high dose of warfarin, was in the hospital with “sweet clover disease”. The soldier who was treated with blood transfusions and vitamin K was completely healed. this case drew the attention of doctors to the use of warfarin in humans.

In 1955, the US president suffered a heart attack and the use of warfarin in treatment increased confidence in the drug, and since then, doctors began to use this compound as a medicine to prevent blood clotting.


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