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Direct thrombin inhibitors
Anticoagulants are often called "blood
thinners," although they don't really thin blood. They decrease the blood's
ability to clot.
Anticoagulants are given in the hospital during
unstable angina or a
heart attack, because they can prevent clots from
becoming larger and blocking coronary arteries. They are often given with other
anticlotting medicines to help prevent or reduce heart muscle damage.
Anticoagulants can help prevent another heart attack and lower the risk of dying soon after a heart attack.1
Anticoagulants for a heart attack are given in the hospital. So a person is watched closely for any side effects.
The most common side effect is bleeding inside the body.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Anticoagulants might be used after a person goes home from the hospital after a heart attack. These medicines can lower the risk of another heart attack, and they can lower the risk of stroke. For this long-term use, another type of anticoagulant, such as warfarin, is typically used.
When you take anticoagulants at home, you need to take extra steps to avoid bleeding problems. If you take warfarin, see:
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
O'Connor RE, et al. (2010). Acute coronary syndromes: 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation, 122(18): S787–S817.
February 13, 2013
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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