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Br J Haematol. 2008 Jun;141(6):757-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07119.x. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

The story of the discovery of heparin and warfarin.

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Oxford Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals, Oxford, UK.


Heparin and coumarins have been the mainstay of anticoagulant therapy throughout our working lives. As we stand on the threshold of a new era of anticoagulants it is timely to look back upon their discovery and development. Both have fascinating stories to tell. Jay McLean claimed to have discovered heparin whilst a medical student, although this is disputed. The story of warfarin leads us from a mysterious haemorrhagic disease of cattle to the development of a rat poison which became one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in history. Many people were involved in both stories and we owe them all a debt of gratitude.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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