Anticoagulation Options

The most common and effective treatment is to administer anticoagulants (clotting prevention agents, sometimes called blood thinners). These drugs prevent new clots from forming. Over time, the body’s natural processes will begin to dissolve the clots that have already formed.

Initially, injections of a medicine called heparin (or low-molecular-weight heparin) are used because they act within hours.

For longer-term treatment, there are several medication options that can help. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are guideline-recommended treatments. They work by blocking specific clotting factors.

Warfarin is another medication that is used to treat blood clots. It’s a therapy that’s been used for the past 50 years and is taken orally. Unlike, heparin, low-molecular-weight heparin, or a DOAC, it takes 3-5 days for warfarin to reach full therapeutic effect.

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

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