MAR 20, 2018 12:00 PM PDT

The History of Warfarin

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

When Professor Karl-Paul Link of University of Wisconsin was helping ranchers to solve the mystery behind dying cattle back in 1933, he would have never imagined that his discovery can one day lead to the development of a rat poison, as well as a medication that saved the life of a U.S. president.

Link found that coumarin, a compound he extracted from sweet clover hays, can prevent fibrinogen in blood from forming form clots by interfering with vitamin K, failing the process of blood clots forming. This unique property caused cows, which fed on sweet clover, to die from unstoppable bleeding.

Later to solve the rodent problem in a hospital he stayed in, Link thought of a use for coumarin as rat poison. He then patented the compound and rename it "warfarin", as an acknowledgment of his funding source the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). 

Medical researchers began to experiment with warfarin on stroke and arrhythmia patients because they knew that strokes were frequently caused by clots in the brain and the right dosage of warfarin should be able to decrease the formation of clots thus the frequency of stroke.

Warfarin did not become a household name until 1955 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a heart attack while on vacation at his in-laws' house in Denver. Eisenhower's long-term treatment included Warfarin 35 mg per week. Since then, it has been one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States.

Source: Nature Video via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
MAY 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Do cats or dogs better survive venomous snakebites?
MAY 20, 2020
Do cats or dogs better survive venomous snakebites?
Who do you think could better battle off a venomous snakebite - a dog or a cat? New research from the University of Quee ...
JUN 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Green Chemistry: Micelle-Based Technique Could Cure Chemists of Their "Hydrophobia"
JUN 12, 2020
Green Chemistry: Micelle-Based Technique Could Cure Chemists of Their "Hydrophobia"
While water is essential to many aspects of our life, it is the least popular thing in a chemistry laboratory. The major ...
JUN 05, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Biofriendly Drug Design for Neurological Diseases
JUN 05, 2020
Biofriendly Drug Design for Neurological Diseases
Carbon quantum dots are a class of nanoparticles that can be placed to good use for treating neurodegenerative diseases ...
JUN 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
JUN 24, 2020
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
In metal works, the term annealing refers to a treatment with heat that increases the elasticity of a metal material. Si ...
JUL 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
First manufactured non-cuttable material is modeled after mollusk shells
JUL 20, 2020
First manufactured non-cuttable material is modeled after mollusk shells
A new material named after the shape-changing Greek god Proteus boasts the title of the first-ever manufactured non-cutt ...
JUL 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide stops the reproduction of listeria monocytogenes
JUL 27, 2020
Cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide stops the reproduction of listeria monocytogenes
Scientists suggest adding cobalt-doped titanium-dioxide (CoO-TiO2) to foods in order to prevent the spread of listeria, ...
Loading Comments...