Skip to content

Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

Font Size

Deep Vein Thrombosis - Medications

Anticoagulant medicines, also called blood thinners, are used to prevent and treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

These medicines prevent new clots from forming and prevent existing clots from getting larger. They don't break up or dissolve existing blood clots.

For prevention, anticoagulants might be used:

For treatment, you might take anticoagulants for at least 3 months. The length of time will be based on your own health, the location of the blood clot in your leg, and your risk for a pulmonary embolism.2

In the hospital, you might be given an anticoagulant as a shot or through an IV. After you go home, you might give yourself shots for a few days. For long-term treatment, you'll likely take a pill.

Medicine choices

Anticoagulants include:

ThrombolyticsThrombolytics are used to quickly dissolve a clot in certain people. They are only used in the hospital.

How long will you need medicine?

If you're taking anticoagulants after surgery to prevent DVT, you only need the medicine for a short time. This might be 2 weeks or more, depending on the medicine and the type of surgery you had.

For treatment of deep vein thrombosis, you will likely take an anticoagulant for at least three months. You might take it longer, depending on your health.

You might take anticoagulants for a long time, maybe the rest of your life, if you:

Safety tips for anticoagulants

If you take an anticoagulant, you can take steps to prevent bleeding. This includes preventing injuries and getting regular blood tests if needed.

actionset.gif Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
actionset.gif Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 16, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    TAG dvt blood clot
    Symptoms, causes, risk factors, and more.
    businesswoman in airport
    Tips to prevent another clot.
     
    blood thinners
    Tips for DVT.
    Blood clots in artery
    Causes and treatments.
     
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
    Having Surgery Tips To Reduce DVT Risk And More
    Slideshow
     
    New DVT Therapies On The Horizon
    Video
    Atrial Fibrillation Guide
    Slideshow
     

    WebMD Special Sections