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Generic name: desirudin [ DES-i-ROO-din ]
Brand name: Iprivask
Dosage form: subcutaneous powder for injection (15 mg)
Drug class: Thrombin inhibitors

Medically reviewed by on Mar 15, 2024. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is desirudin?

Desirudin is an anticoagulant (thrombin inhibitor) that helps prevent the formation of blood clots.

Desirudin is used to prevent a type of blood clot called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can lead to blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). A DVT can occur after certain types of surgery. Desirudin is for use after hip replacement surgery.

Desirudin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Desirudin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Also seek emergency medical attention if you have symptoms of a spinal blood clot: back pain, numbness or muscle weakness in your lower body, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Desirudin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Serious side effects may be more likely in adults who are 75 years or older.

Common side effects of desirudin may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


You should not use desirudin if you have active or uncontrolled bleeding, or an irreversible blood clotting disorder.

Desirudin can cause a very serious blood clot around your spinal cord if you undergo a spinal tap or receive spinal anesthesia (epidural), especially if you are also using other drugs that can affect blood clotting, including blood thinners or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and others). This type of blood clot can lead to long-term or permanent paralysis.

Get emergency medical help if you have symptoms of a spinal cord blood clot such as back pain, numbness or muscle weakness in your lower body, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to desirudin, bivalirudin, or lepirudin, or if you have:

Desirudin can cause a very serious blood clot around your spinal cord if you undergo a spinal tap or receive spinal anesthesia (epidural). This type of blood clot could cause long-term or permanent paralysis, and may be more likely to occur if:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Desirudin may cause you to bleed more easily, especially if you have had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using desirudin.

How is desirudin given?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Desirudin is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Desirudin is usually given every 12 hours for up to 12 days after your surgery. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.

Desirudin must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. When using injections by yourself, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Use only the syringe and needle provided with desirudin.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

You may need frequent medical tests.

Store the powder and diluent at cool room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. After mixing desirudin, store it at room temperature away from light, and use within 24 hours.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Desirudin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Deep Vein Thrombosis -- Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 15 mg subcutaneously 5 to 15 minutes prior to surgery (but after induction of regional block anesthesia, if used)
Maintenance dose: 15 mg subcutaneously every 12 hours

Duration of therapy: Up to 12 days (9 to 12 days on average) has been well tolerated in controlled clinical trials.

Comments: All patients should be evaluated for bleeding disorder risk before prophylactic administration of this drug.

Use: Prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients undergoing elective hip replacement surgery.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of desirudin.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose may cause excessive bleeding.

What should I avoid while using desirudin?

Avoid rubbing your skin after injecting desirudin, to prevent bruising.

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

What other drugs will affect desirudin?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect desirudin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.