ANTICOAGULANTS AND ANTIPLATELET DRUGS
Anticoagulants prevent clotting (coagulation) of blood. They prevent formation of clots or
break up clots in blood vessels in conditions such as thrombosis and embolism. They also
are used to prevent coagulation in preserved blood used for transfusions. Heparin is a
natural anticoagulant purified from pig intestine or bovine (cow) lung. It is found in the
granules of certain white blood cells. A more easily administered form of heparin called
low-molecular-weight heparin (Fragmin, Lovenox) is self-injected on a daily basis and
requires no monitoring of blood clotting ability, as is done with regular heparin. Other
anticoagulants, including warfarin (Coumadin), are chemically synthesized. Coumadin
blocks the formation of a number of clot-forming factors in the blood. Its action is reversed
by vitamin K. Tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) dissolves clots and is used to open
vessels after myocardial infarction.
New anticoagulant drugs that greatly reduce the risk of stroke are called NOACs (new
oral anticoagulants). Examples are apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), and rivaroxaban
Antiplatelet drugs reduce the tendency of platelets to stick together. Aspirin is an
example of an antiplatelet drug; daily aspirin prophylaxis is recommended for patients with
coronary artery disease and for those who have had heart attacks. Clopidogrel (Plavix)
inhibits clumping of platelets and is used to prevent clotting after heart attacks and blood
vessel procedures, such as angioplasty.
Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs are listed such as apixaban (Eliquis), clopidogrel (Plavix), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto), etc..