Anticoagulant medicines


Find reliable independent health and treatment information about anticoagulant medicines written by Australian experts. This includes resources for consumers and health professionals.

About anticoagulants

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.

Find out more

For health professionals  

Warfarin is the mainstay of anticoagulant therapy, but the newer oral anticoagulants may also have a place for some patients. All oral anticoagulants require careful patient selection and routine clinical monitoring, to minimise the risk of thrombosis and bleeding. Benefits, harms and lifestyle factors should be discussed with the patient when selecting and reviewing oral anticoagulant treatment and use a structured approach to optimising warfarin management. All people taking oral anticoagulants need individualised clinical monitoring.

Our CPD activities

Consolidate your knowledge on anticoagulants, brush-up on current guidelines and practices and earn CPD points through our learning activities.

For your patients

Use the following tools and resources in your discussions with people taking warfarin, or their carers.

Clinical information

The information below is intended for health professionals. It uses the latest guidelines and evidence to help health professionals further understand the issues around using anticoagulants.

Other tools and resources

Related information - anticoagulant medicines


For health professionals (Health professional publication)
11 Aug 2014 Data suggesting variation in plasma concentration of dabigatran (Pradaxa) affects clinical outcomes contradicts key marketing claims. These data imply that, like warfarin, close monitoring would optimise dabigatran treatment. Does this change practice?
(Media release)
06 Aug 2014 With anticoagulant medicine dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) in the news this week following reports that safety information about the medicine had been withheld by the manufacturer, NPS MedicineWise is reminding people not to stop taking it without talking to their doctor.
For health professionals (CPD activity)
27 May 2014 Consider appropriate anticoagulation for a patient with atrial fibrillation.
For health professionals (Medicine)
08 May 2014 The vitamin K antagonist warfarin and the newer oral anticoagulants dabigatran and rivaroxaban are approved treatments for stroke prevention in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), but dabigatran and rivaroxaban are not PBS listed for this indication. Read about which people with non-valvular AF need anticoagulation and the role of these different medicines.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
13 Mar 2014 The vitamin K antagonist warfarin can be used for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE). The newer oral anticoagulants dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban are all PBS subsidised for the prevention of VTE in patients undergoing total hip replacement or total knee replacement. Rivaroxaban is also PBS subsidised for treatment of acute symptomatic deep vein thrombosis without symptomatic pulmonary embolism and prevention of recurrent VTE. Read about the place in therapy of these medicines.
06 Feb 2014 Your general heath and medicines can affect your oral health. To help your dentist make the best treatment decisions for you, they will need to know about all the medicines you are taking, and any medical conditions you have.
For health professionals (e-newsletter for health professionals)
14 Nov 2013 Antibiotic awareness week | Learn about biosimilars | Toxic energy drinks | Ketoconazole discontinued | NEW!: Evidence behind health news | Fast Five: Men's health | Use of statins: appropriate patient selection is key | Online case study for GPs, pharmacists & nurses | Clinical e-Audit - latest advice for GPs about CVD risk assessment | Promoting safe use of oral anticoagulants - for pharmacists
(Media release)
01 Sep 2013 NPS MedicineWise is reiterating safety messages around the newer anticoagulants dabigatran (Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis) following their PBS listing for preventing stroke on 1 September 2013 – and again for rivaxabaran (Xarelto) which was PBS listed in August for the same purpose.
(Media release)
01 Sep 2013 NPS MedicineWise is reiterating safety messages around the newer anticoagulant medicines dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis) with their PBS listing for preventing stroke on 1 September 2013. The safety messages also apply for rivaroxaban (Xarelto) which was PBS-listed last month.
For health professionals (Topic)
30 Aug 2013 Ageing-related physiologic changes influence medicines use in older people by altering pharmacokinetic responses to medicines