Skip to content

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size

Pulmonary Embolism - Medications

Medicines can help prevent repeated episodes of pulmonary embolism by preventing new blood clots from forming or preventing existing clots from getting larger.

Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are prescribed when pulmonary embolism is diagnosed or strongly suspected.

You'll likely take an anticoagulant for at least 3 months after pulmonary embolism to reduce the risk of having another blood clot.2 Treatment with anticoagulants may continue throughout your life if the risk of having another pulmonary embolism remains high.

Different types of anticoagulants are used to treat pulmonary embolism. 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 the long term, you'll likely take a pill.

Anticoagulants include:

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

Thrombolytics

Clot-dissolving (thrombolytic) medicines are not commonly used to treat pulmonary embolism. Although they can quickly dissolve a blood clot, thrombolytics also greatly increase the risk of serious bleeding. They are sometimes used to treat a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

    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: March 12, 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

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
     
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.
     

    chest x-ray
    Slideshow
    Bronchitis Overview
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    QUIZ
    Energy Boosting Foods
    SLIDESHOW
     

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    lungs
    Article
    smokestacks
    Article
     
    woman coughing
    Article
    Lung xray and caduceus
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections