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Blood Thinners

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about blood thinners?

Blood thinners are medicines that prevent blood clots from forming in an artery, vein, or the heart. These medicines may also prevent a blood clot from getting bigger. Blood clots prevent the flow of blood to organs and tissues such as the heart or a leg. The 2 main types of blood thinners are antiplatelet medicine and anticoagulant medicine. Antiplatelet medicine prevents platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. Anticoagulant medicine prevents the blood from clotting too much.

Why do I need to take a blood thinner?

What are the most common side effects of blood thinners?

The most common side effects of blood thinners are bleeding and bruising. Anticoagulants may cause bleeding in your brain, stomach, or other parts of your body. This bleeding may happen without an injury or trauma. This may become life-threatening and you may need other treatments to control the bleeding. Ask your healthcare provider about other side effects of your blood thinner.

What are new oral anticoagulants (NOACs)?

NOACs are a type of anticoagulant medicine that has a lower risk for bleeding. Examples include dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban. You do not need routine blood tests if you take a NOAC. NOACs may be given to a person with a pulmonary embolism, DVT, atrial fibrillation, acute coronary syndrome, or to prevent a stroke or DVT.

Which foods and medicines should I avoid while I am taking anticoagulants?

Do not start any new medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements before you talk to your healthcare provider. Do not make changes to your diet without talking to your provider. Many medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements may prevent blood thinners from working correctly. Ask your provider for a full list of foods and medicines to avoid. The following may cause severe bleeding, or prevent anticoagulants from working correctly:

How can I care for myself while I take anticoagulants?

What else do I need to know about blood thinners?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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