Anticoagulants are a type of anti-clotting medicine used to prevent harmful blood clots in the body.
Blood clots can cause serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the veins of the legs), pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs), or a stroke (a blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain).
Anticoagulants (e.g warfarin) are sometimes incorrectly called ‘blood thinners’ but they actually work by reducing blood clotting.
Anticoagulants used to prevent blood clots and stroke include:
Find out more about warfarin, dabigatran, apixaban and rivaroxaban, including information about who can take them, what conditions they are used to treat, their side effects, interactions, and what you need to know to take these medicines safely and effectively.
For health professionals
- The NPS Medicinewise educational program Oral anticoagulants — achieving good anticoagulant practice focusses on optimal use of warfarin and the newer oral anticoagulants dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban (see program Key messages).
- The February 2013 NPS Medicinewise News discusses good anticoagulant practice, particularly use of oral anticoagulants in stroke prevention for people with non-valvular AF.
- Recent NPS RADAR articles have discussed the evidence behind use of:
— dabigatran and rivaroxaban for preventing stroke and systemic embolism in people with non-valvular AF
— dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban for preventing venous thromboembolism after hip or knee replacement surgery
— rivaroxaban for treating deep venous thromboebolism.