Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
June 21, 2021
The most reliable line of medication for preventing blood clots are anticoagulants or blood thinners. Every year in the United States alone, between 2 to 3 million people use blood thinners.
These types of medication help your blood move smoothly through your veins and arteries.
Blood thinners are commonly used for a few things, all related to your heart the organs and systems that support it:
Blood thinners are an amazing advance in medicine, as so many people require them to live. On the flip side, they also have many side effects, as thin blood results in excessive bleeding.
There are many different brands and types of blood thinner medications.
Below is a comprehensive table of blood thinner medications, their intended use, and some side effects.
|Medication ||Uses||Dose||Side Effects|
|Eliquis (Apixaban)||Treating and preventing blood clots that have been caused by arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.|
Typically, taken by patients who have recently undergone major surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement.
|Taken orally in the form of a pill, with or without food. If you cannot swallow the pill, you can crush it into a powder, dissolve it into the water, or mix it with certain foods.|
Should be taken twice a day, or roughly 12 hours apart. The dosage depends on several factors, including your age, weight, kidney status, and consideration of other medications you may be taking.
|Nausea, easy bruising, or minor bleeding. |
You may feel short moments of unexpected nausea while taking this medication at first.
The skin might become easily bruised by the slightest of touches.
Some users of this medication report waking up with unexplained bruising.
|Dabigatran (Pradaxa)||The best option for reducing the risk of strokes and blood clots in the legs and lungs.|
Works by inhibiting the production of thrombin, a protein that causes blood clots.
|Depending on the circumstances that lead you to take dabigatran, there will be slightly different dosage and timing guidelines.|
If you’re using this medication after a knee replacement surgery, you should take it once per day.
If you’re taking this medication for general purposes, take it as directed by your doctor.
This medication should only be swallowed in full pill form, not ground up.
|Easy bruising of the skin and minor nosebleeds. |
Additionally, some users have reported stomach aches and heartburn.
|Fondaparinux (Arixtra)||Treating severe blood clots in the legs or lungs.||Take once per day in the form of an injection in the stomach or abdomen region.|
Dosage recommendations depend on your weight and age.
Additionally, the medication should be taken at the same time of day each time.
|Bruising, skin redness, swelling, insomnia, and pain in the area of the injection are common side effects.|
Some of the more serious potential side effects are dark urine with a strong smell and the yellowing of your eyes and skin.
**If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately as you may be having a bad reaction to the drug.
|Warfarin||Preventing and treating blood clot occurrences in the body.|
It is the most commonly prescribed blood thinner currently on the market.
|Usually, this medication is taken once or twice per day by mouth, with or without food.|
Just make sure to stay consistent and take each dose as close to exactly 12 hours apart from each other.
|Nausea, stomach aches, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite in some cases.|
Misusing and overdosing this medication can cause serious bleeding issues, including heavy and frequent nosebleeds, prolonged menstrual bleeding, coughing and sneezing blood, and vomiting blood.
**Contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Lastly, minor bleeding from the mouth, nose, or minor scrapes is another common side effect of all blood thinners. Blood thinners will increase the blood flow throughout your body, so increased bleeding and excessive bleeding are normal when you’re on blood thinners.
Speak to a doctor online through our partner PlushCare, to discuss getting on blood thinners and get a prescription from board-certified physicians.
The safest blood thinner you can take depends entirely on your circumstances. Deciding factors include:
It’s also important to consider what has caused your need to take blood thinners. Are you recovering from surgery and only need them temporarily? Those recovering from surgery will experience blood clots because their body thinks that clotting proteins are needed to stop bleeding.
If this is the case, light blood thinners only taken temporarily are the safest course to take. On the other hand, if you struggle with chronic blood clots, more long-term and heavy blood thinners are needed.
According to a recent study from the American Heart Association, it doesn’t matter what time of day blood thinners are taken.
This might depend on the person, though, so pay attention when it feels best for you to take them, and try to work your schedule around that. You can also speak to a doctor online if you want more information on how to take your blood thinners.
You can drink coffee while on blood thinners but do so in extreme moderation. The National Center for Biotechnology Foundation stated in a March 2018 study that “Caffeine has the capacity to inhibit the metabolism of warfarin and enhance its plasma concentration and anticoagulant effects.”
This means that caffeine can enhance the effects of blood thinners, which can be very dangerous. Make sure to drink as little caffeine as possible while using blood thinners.
In summary, being safe while using blood thinners is very simple as long as you follow your doctor’s instructions.
Our partner PlushCare has doctors who are available for convenient online appointments and can prescribe blood thinners after thoroughly diagnosing any heart conditions or risks you have, and assessing your overall health.
Make an appointment online with PlushCare, and get a prescription for blood thinners, along with all the information you need to take them safely.
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