Vitamin K supplementation can improve stability of anticoagulation for patients with unexplained variability in response to warfarin

Elizabeth Sconce, Peter Avery, Hilary Wynne and Farhad Kamali


Patients receiving warfarin who have unstable control of anticoagulation have a significantly lower intake of dietary vitamin K compared with their stable counterparts. We hypothesized that supplementation with oral vitamin K would improve stability in patients with previously unstable control of anticoagulation. Seventy warfarin-treated patients with unstable anticoagulation control were randomly assigned in a double-blinded fashion to receive a daily amount of 150 μg oral vitamin K or placebo orally for 6 months. Measures of stability of anticoagulation control in the 6-month study period were compared with those in the 6 months immediately prior to it. Vitamin K supplementation resulted in a significantly greater decrease in standard deviation of international normalized ratio (INR) compared with placebo (−0.24 ± 0.14 vs −0.11 ± 0.18; P < .001) and a significantly greater increase in percentage time within target INR range (28% ± 20% vs 15% ± 20%; P < .01). Anticoagulation control improved in 33 of 35 patients receiving vitamin K supplementation; of these, 19 fulfilled our criteria for having stable control of anticoagulation. However, only 24 of 33 patients receiving placebo demonstrated some degree of improvement, with only 7 patients fulfilling the criteria for having stable control. Concomitant supplementation of vitamin K, perhaps through reducing the relative day-to-day variability in dietary vitamin K intake, can significantly improve anticoagulation control in patients with unexplained instability of response to warfarin.

  • Submitted September 26, 2006.
  • Accepted November 6, 2006.
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