To prevent blood clots, doctors may recommend blood thinners or anticoagulants. These medications can be administered to a person’s veins (intravenously) or taken orally. Used to prevent strokes and heart attacks, a medical professional may bring up blood thinners to you if you have heart disease or an irregular heartbeat, also called atrial fibrillation.
Blood thinners and anticoagulants work to stop blood clots from forming within the body. In some cases, if small clots do form, the blood thinners help to stop them from growing. A few of the blood thinners that might be recommended by your doctor include Eliquis, Warfarin, and Xarelto.
What is Eliquis?
For individuals with atrial fibrillation, which is a condition that produces an irregular heartbeat, Eliquis may be recommended. Eliquis is a brand name for Apixaban, which is a drug that discourages blood clots and strokes.
Sometimes Eliquis is prescribed for reasons other than atrial fibrillation. It may be prescribed for reducing the risks of blood clots, including conditions like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
As with all medications, take your prescription as directed by your healthcare provider. Even if you think you would benefit from taking more or less, do not change the dose before discussing the impact of that decision with your doctor. People taking medication need to stay on course consistently. Stopping the medication abruptly could create more health issues.
What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is a prescription drug marketed under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven and is used to avert damaging blood clots that could cause severe health problems. It is an anticoagulant, which means it slows down the clotting process of the blood.
Clots form in the body through a process involving clotting components. Vitamin K is one of these factors. By reducing the creation of the Vitamin K portion of the clotting process, Warfarin can help your body to prevent blood clots from forming.
When taking Warfarin, you will undergo blood testing to monitor how your body is reacting. The goal is to decrease the clotting in the blood, but for optimal health, you need some blood clotting to occur. Because of this, Warfarin is not one constant dose; the amount is adjusted according to the results of blood tests.
What is Xarelto?
Used to help the body reduce certain blood clotting formations, Xarelto is often prescribed in the treatment or prevention of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. It is also used to reduce the risk of strokes. When individuals have serious heart problems, Xarelto can be taken in tandem with aspirin.
As with any medicine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. Bleeding can result when taking Xarelto, both in the unborn baby and within a pregnant mother’s body.
What are the Side Effects of Eliquis?
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, Eliquis should be taken as a doctor recommends, which will likely be twice every day.
The side effects of Eliquis include the following:
- Bruising easily
- Bleeding nose or gums
- Discolor in urine or stools
- Menstrual bleeding that is heavy
- Breathing problems
- Headaches and dizziness
- Rashes, hives, and swelling
- Chest discomfort
What are the Side Effects of Warfarin?
When taking Warfarin, you should discuss any other vitamins and medications you are taking with a medical professional. The interactions can impact how effective the drug is and they can be harmful to your health in other ways.
Abnormal bleeding can be a side effect of Warfarin, including:
- Bruising for unknown reasons
- Bleeding that does not stop easily
- Vaginal bleeding
- Urine that is discolored
- Black or red stools
- Coughing up blood or vomiting dark material
Share all side effects you experience with a medical professional. Life-threatening side effects include darkening of toes as well as a change of color and temperature in other areas of the body.
There may be dietary restrictions involved when taking Warfarin. Your healthcare team could likely advise you to avoid foods that are loaded with Vitamin K such as leafy greens and cranberries. Alcohol should also be avoided when taking any medication, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
What are the Side Effects of Xarelto?
Because of the impact on the blood, Xarelto can cause the body to bleed easily. If you have any of the following, let your doctor know:
- Gums that bleed
- Menstrual bleeding that is not normal
- Blood in stools
- Coughing up blood or dark vomit
- Dizziness, fainting, or headaches.
Of course, you need to share your entire health history with your doctor before taking any medication. Xarelto should be avoided if you have a heart valve that is artificial, and it can cause harmful interactions with other medications.
Which is Best?
There are many reasons why some medications work for some people and other prescriptions work for others. If you want to change the strategies you are currently using, talk to your doctor. If you are currently on medication, talk to your doctor about your options, but do not stop taking your current medication without letting your doctor know. A professional can advise you on how to move off the medication and transition to another health plan in a way that is safe and healthy.
Some lifestyle changes have been connected with a reduced risk of clotting. For instance, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, particularly on the lower half of the body, might help. Counterintuitively, some folks who suffer from blood clots benefit from wearing compression socks. Stay hydrated, eat less salt, do not smoke, and maintain a healthy weight through quality eating habits.
Be open and honest with your healthcare team for the best health outcomes. Together, decisions can be made regarding medications, lifestyle adjustments, dosage modifications, prescription changes, and surgical options. Choosing a blood thinner or anticoagulant can be tricky, but your healthcare team has your best interests in mind.3