The most common and effective treatment is to administer anticoagulants (clotting prevention agents). These drugs block the formation of new clots. Over time the body’s natural processes will begin to dissolve the clots that have already formed. Initially, injections of heparin or low-molecular weight heparin are used because they act within hours. For longer term treatment, patients have a variety of medications that can help. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are the guideline recommended treatments. They work by blocking specific clotting factors. Another medication used is warfarin. It is the more traditional therapy and has been used for the past 50 years. It is often sold under the brand name Coumadin and taken orally. Unlike, heparin, low-molecular weight heparin, or a DOAC, 3-5 days is needed before warfarin reaches full therapeutic effect.

Take a look at NATF’s Anticoagulant Comparison Chart to understand the differences between these drugs.

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