Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)
These drugs are used to help prevent blood clots from forming. These medications treat conditions related to atherosclerosis, or arteries blocked by plaque.
Some Examples of Generic (and Brand) Names
All medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a specific patient group or condition. Only your doctor knows which medications are appropriate for you.
What They're Used For
To reduce the risk of blood clots that could lead to stroke and other medical conditions.
How they Work
Anticoagulants are often called blood thinners, although they don't actually thin the blood. Rather, they help prevent clots from forming in your blood.
These medications treat conditions related to atherosclerosis, or arteries blocked by plaque. Plaque buildup can lead to a blood clot. A blood clot in the coronary arteries (which carry blood to the heart muscle) can cause angina (chest pain).
- A clot or blockage in the coronary arteries is called coronary artery disease and could lead to a heart attack.
- A blood clot in the carotid arteries (in the neck) can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
- A blood clot in the vessels in the arms and legs, called peripheral vascular disease (PVD), can cause pain.
Taking anticoagulant medications can:
- Decrease the stickiness of the blood
- Reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming