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Generic Name: heparin (HEP-a-rin)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Heparin is used for:

Preventing or treating harmful blood clots.

Heparin is an anticoagulant. It works by blocking reactions in the body that lead to blood clots.

Do NOT use heparin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in heparin
  • you have uncontrolled bleeding or low blood platelet counts
  • you are taking apixaban, dabigatran, desirudin, or rivaroxaban

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using heparin:

Some medical conditions may interact with heparin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a blood disorder (eg, hemophilia), liver or kidney problems, or von Willebrand disease
  • if you have recently had or are scheduled to have brain, eye, or spinal surgery; an epidural catheter; or a spinal puncture; or you have recently had an injury
  • if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, or a history of ulcers or other stomach problems
  • if you have a fever or infection, or a history of blood conditions or brain hemorrhage

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with heparin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Antihistamines (eg, diphenhydramine), digitalis (eg, digoxin), nicotine, or tetracyclines (eg, doxycycline) because they may decrease heparin's effectiveness
  • Antiplatelet medicines (eg, clopidogrel), apixaban, dabigatran, desirudin, dipyridamole, hydroxychloroquine, injectable cephalosporins (eg, cefuroxime), injectable penicillins (eg, penicillin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen), rivaroxaban, or salicylates (eg, aspirin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if heparin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use heparin:

Use heparin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Heparin is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using heparin at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use heparin. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use heparin if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of heparin, contact your doctor.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use heparin.

Important safety information:

  • Additional monitoring of your dose or conditions may be needed if you are taking dicumarol or warfarin.
  • Heparin may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (HITT) are serious side effects that may occur with the use of heparin. They may also occur for up to several weeks after you stop taking heparin. Contact your doctor right away if you develop calf or leg pain, tenderness, or swelling; chest pain; confusion; coughing up blood; lower back pain; numbness or color change of the skin, fingers, or toes; one-sided numbness or weakness; shortness of breath; slurred speech; sudden severe headache; or vision problems.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you use heparin before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including hematocrit, platelet counts, and tests for blood in the stool, may be performed while you use heparin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use heparin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially bleeding.
  • Heparin may have benzyl alcohol in it. Do not use products that contain benzyl alcohol in NEWBORNS or INFANTS. Serious and sometimes fatal nervous system problems and other side effects may occur. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using heparin while you are pregnant. Heparin is not found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using heparin, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of heparin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Irritation or mild pain at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry, or bloody stools; bleeding from gums when brushing or flossing teeth; blood in the urine; calf or leg pain, tenderness, or swelling; chest pain; confusion; coughing up blood; excessive bleeding from cuts; fainting; fever or chills; increased menstrual bleeding; lower back pain; nosebleeds; numbness or color change of the skin, fingers, or toes; one-sided numbness or weakness; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; shortness of breath; slurred speech; stomach pain or swelling; unexplained vaginal bleeding; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision problems; vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blood in urine; nosebleeds; stomach pain or swelling; tarry stools; unexplained bleeding and bruising; vomiting blood.

Proper storage of heparin:

Heparin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using heparin at home, store heparin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep heparin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about heparin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Heparin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take heparin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about heparin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to heparin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using heparin.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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