What's the Treatment for Thrombophlebitis?

It depends on how bad it is. Clots lodged in veins near the surface of the skin often go away on their own in a week or two.

But if you do need treatment, your doctor will probably give you something to relieve swelling and pain. He may recommend you elevate your leg or take over-the-counter aspirin or ibuprofen. He might also suggest you apply heat to the affected leg for 15 to 30 minutes two to three times daily.

You may need to wear compression stockings. These help to improve blood flow to your legs. They also help to reduce swelling.

If your thrombophlebitis is more severe, your doctor may give you a blood thinner like heparin or fondaparinux (Arixtra). You can get some of these medications in the hospital through an IV. You can give others to yourself through shots under your skin at home. They help keep the clot from getting bigger. You may also have to take an oral drug like w arfarin (Coumadin) for several months or longer to keep clots from coming back. Your doctor will give you regular blood tests to make sure the meds are working.

A number of newer blood thinners, like direct thrombin inhibitors and factor Xa inhibitors, are also available. But doctors don’t normally recommend them as the first-line treatment for thrombophlebitis. That’s because they cost more and may cause uncontrollable bleeding. They include apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), edoxaban (Savaysa), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto).

Serious cases of thrombophlebitis may require treatment with antibiotics. These kill infections caused by poor circulation.

If there’s a high risk of tissue damage, or if your clot comes back, you may need surgery after the inflammation improves. In the event you have a clot in a deep vein in your leg, your doctor might recommend an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. The vena cava is the main vein in your abdomen. The IVC filter prevents clots in your legs from breaking loose and traveling to your lungs.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on November 21, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic. 

Medline Plus: "Deep venous thrombosis."

University of Michigan Health System: “Vascular Surgery.”

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