Anticoagulant therapy is a medical treatment applied in the prevention or treatment of blood clots, also known as thrombosis. The benefits of anticoagulant therapy include prevention of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and stroke. The negative aspects of anticoagulant therapy include an increased risk of bleeding, the costs associated with the treatment and the side effects of the medication anticoagulant.
Medications are in anticoagulant therapy to reduce the risk of formation of blood clots. Many people call these drugs blood thinners. A number of drugs are used as anti-coagulants, such as heparin, warfarin, enoxaparin. All these medicines have unique side effects, benefits, costs, and safety profiles.
The major pro of anticoagulant therapy is to prevent the formation of blood clots. Often grow blood clots in the deep veins of the legs, which can cause localized redness or swelling. The risk of these blood clots, however, when a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. The medical term for this phenomenon is pulmonary embolism, and it can cause acute shortness of breath, increased rate of respiration, and low blood pressure. A large pulmonary embolism can be life threatening.
Another pro of anticoagulant treatment is that it can prevent the formation of thrombosis in the heart. An abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation makes patients more susceptible to the formation of blood clots in the atria of the heart; valvular abnormalities of the heart also predispose to the formation of thrombi in the heart. When parts of these clots break off, they travel to the brains and cause strokes. Blood thinners reduce the possibility of formation of these dangerous clots.
The main disadvantage of anticoagulant treatment is that there is an increased risk of bleeding in patients receiving the therapy. Bleeding may be of external wounds, in the gastro-intestinal tract or in the brains. Risk of bleeding is higher if excessive anticoagulation therapy is given, or if patients taking medications that interfere with the anticoagulant drugs. Patients with uncontrolled hypertension, a history of easy bleeding, concomitant use of anti-platelet agents, or that are usually older than 75 are not good candidates for anti-clotting as a result of their increased bleeding risk.
Another disadvantage of anti-coagulant therapy is the costs associated with the therapy. Warfarin is considered the cheapest option anticoagulant therapy, but it requires regular laboratory work the effect it has on blood check. Heparin is usually only available for use in the hospital. Enoxaparin can be used as an outpatient medication, but it has a high cost price and must be administered as a shot.
Other disadvantages of anticoagulant therapy include the specific side effects associated with each anticoagulant medication. Warfarin can cause birth defects and skin necrosis. Heparin can cause low platelet levels in the blood. All the drugs have been associated with the risk of allergy in susceptible patients or anaphylaxis.
- Compression stockings may increase the risk of blood clots in the legs by reducing support blood flow to the limbs.
- Warfarin can cause birth defects and skin necrosis.
- Anticoagulation treatment is a treatment to prevent or dissolve blood clots.
- Heparin can be administered when a patient's risk of developing a blood clot.
- Anticoagulants can cause anaphylactic reactions in some people.