What are blood thinners?

What are the known blood thinners?

There are two types. The first is known as anticoagulants. They prevent aggregation of clumps of cells and other clotting factors that can block your blood vessels. Most are available in tablet forms. Few however are available in injection forms. They include Apixaban, Dabigatran, Enoxaparin, Dalteparin, Rivaroxobam and Warfarin.

What is the second class of blood thinners?

They are also known as antiplatelet drugs. They prevent platelets from being adhered to each other and include Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Prasugrel, Ticagrelor, Tirofiban Eptifibatide and many more.

Who should be given blood thinners?

Blood thinners help blood flow smoothly through your blood vessels, that is both arteries and veins. They prevent blood lots from getting bigger or from forming. They protect against heart attacks and strokes, but they also come with risks. The life-saving effects of these drugs often outweigh the potential dangers.

How did blood thinners work?

Blood thinners do not allow new clot formation. They also slow the growth of existing ones. They do not thin the blood, nor they can burst the clots. Vitamin K is necessary for formation of clotting factors. These help blood cells and platelets bind together. Anti-platelets keep platelets from sticking to each other and to the walls of blood vessels forming clots.

What are the side effects of blood thinners?

Clotting of blood is essential to stop bleeding if you have a cut or injury. The clot seals your injury and prevents the loss of blood. Anticoagulants and blood thinners prevent the clotting of blood and may increase blood loss. With anticoagulants, you may bleed internally without an external mark. Report to your doctor if you have heavier than normal menses, blood in stools or urine, or bleeding from gums and nose. Vomiting or coughing of blood, dizziness, or weakness or severe headache or stomach ache. Unexplained anaemia is common amongst those on blood thinners or anticoagulants.

What are the tests required if you are on blood thinners?

If on Coumadin or Warfarin, you shall require periodic Prothrombin value estimation to make sure that the dose of anticoagulants is not in excess or low. Newer oral anticoagulants do not require these tests. Periodic haemoglobin estimation is required to make sure that the blood thinners or anticoagulants are not working in excess.

What about dietary restrictions if on anticoagulants?

Some anticoagulants act by opposing the action of vitamin K. In such situations, green leafy vegetables and some fruits need to be avoided.

What other precautions are required?

Make sure that your doctor knows all the medications you are on. There could be drug interactions that would either prolong or reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. Giving blood thinners or anticoagulants in the elderly needs to be done very judiciously. High-impact exercises should be avoided. Always use a helmet while being on a two-wheeler. Herbal medications or certain non-prescription drugs given along with anticoagulants may be dangerous.

Are blood thinners safe in pregnancy?

In some pregnant women, aspirin is given to prevent abortions and stillbirths. Aspirin is considered useful and safe in pregnancy. Heparin and its analogues are also given in pregnancy. However, this should be under the watchful guidance of your doctor.


Categories : Health

Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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