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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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Taking Blood Thinners for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Tips for Taking Blood Thinners for DVT continued...

Fondaparinux: This drug is similar to heparin. It can also be given at home by daily injection. Along with low-molecular-weight heparin, fondaparinux is often preferred over intravenous heparin unless the patient has kidney problems or other complicating factors.

Warfarin: You take warfarin by pill once a day, beginning while still on heparin. Treatment may continue for about 3 to 6 months or even longer. While on warfarin, you need regular blood tests to ensure you have the correct dosage. Ask your doctor how long you will need to take heparin and warfarin. And follow these six tips for taking these anticoagulants:

  1. Take medication exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  2. Take medication at the same time each day. Your doctor may recommend taking it in the evening so it's easier to make any adjustments in your dosage.
  3. Always double-check your pills when you get a new prescription. Tablets are color-coded. They also have the milligram strength printed on them. If the dose differs from your last one, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it is correct.
  4. Do NOT follow label directions for warfarin. Your dosage is adjusted depending upon your blood results.
  5. Call for refills of heparin and warfarin prescriptions before you run out. It is risky to go even one day without your medication.
  6. If you do miss a dose, call your doctor or clinic for instructions. Don't try to make up for missed doses or change your dose on your own for any reason.

Apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, and rivaroxaban:

  • Tell your doctor you are using one of these drugs before having certain spinal procedures (spinal puncture or spinal/epidural anesthesia).
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms such as tingling, numbness (especially in the legs), or muscle weakness.
  • Take medication exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • Take medication at the same time each day.
  • Patients do not need to check blood levels while on these drugs.

Checking Your Blood While on Warfarin for DVT

Taking warfarin for DVT is a balancing act. You want to receive enough warfarin to lower the risk for blood clots, but not so much that clotting stops completely. If this happens, you're at high risk for bleeding problems. This is why the doctor needs to check your blood while you're on this medication.

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