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Heparin (By injection)

Prevents and treats blood clots. Also helps diagnose and treat bleeding disorders. This medicine is a blood thinner.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Heparin injection is an anticoagulant. It is used to decrease the clotting ability of the blood and help prevent harmful clots from forming in blood vessels. This medicine is sometimes called a blood thinner, although it does not actually thin the blood. Heparin will not dissolve blood clots that have already formed, but it may prevent the clots from becoming larger and causing more serious… Read more
Brand names include
BD PosiFlush Heparin Lock, HepMed IV Pack, Heparin Sodium Novaplus, Hepflush-10, PosiFlush Heparin, PremierPro Rx heparin sodium, Simplist Heparin Sodium, Solu-Pref, Vasceze Heparin Lock Flush
Drug classes About this
Anticoagulant

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Heparin for pregnant women with acquired or inherited thrombophilias

No evidence from trials on the effects of heparin on pregnancy outcomes for women with a thrombophilia.

Unfractionated heparin versus low molecular weight heparin for avoiding heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia in postoperative patients

Heparin is a natural agent used to prevent clot formation in the vessels. Two types of heparins are widely used, unfractionated heparin (UFH) and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). Heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an adverse reaction that can occur during treatment with heparin. It is common in practice and its most important consequence is a paradoxical increase in the risk of clotting (thromboembolic) complications. A number of factors are thought to influence its frequency, including the type of heparin and the type of patient, with patients who have had a surgery at higher risk. We compared the risk of HIT in people who had had surgery and had been exposed to UFH or LMWH. A better understanding of this problem will allow safer management of postoperative patients who need thromboprophylaxis with heparin.

Umbilical artery catheters in the newborn: effects of heparin

The umbilical artery catheters (tubes) (UACs) commonly used in neonatal intensive care to monitor babies can sometimes cause them problems. They can be placed in high or low positions, and come in different materials and designs. The blood anticoagulant, heparin, theoretically helps prevent blood clots forming (thromboses), but high doses could lead to haemorrhage (bleeding). This review found that low heparin doses are effective in preventing catheters becoming blocked and needing to be re‐inserted. There is not enough evidence to rule out the possibility of adverse effects. Heparin does not seem to lower the rate of blood clots in the major artery.

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Summaries for consumers

Heparin for pregnant women with acquired or inherited thrombophilias

No evidence from trials on the effects of heparin on pregnancy outcomes for women with a thrombophilia.

Unfractionated heparin versus low molecular weight heparin for avoiding heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia in postoperative patients

Heparin is a natural agent used to prevent clot formation in the vessels. Two types of heparins are widely used, unfractionated heparin (UFH) and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). Heparin‐induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an adverse reaction that can occur during treatment with heparin. It is common in practice and its most important consequence is a paradoxical increase in the risk of clotting (thromboembolic) complications. A number of factors are thought to influence its frequency, including the type of heparin and the type of patient, with patients who have had a surgery at higher risk. We compared the risk of HIT in people who had had surgery and had been exposed to UFH or LMWH. A better understanding of this problem will allow safer management of postoperative patients who need thromboprophylaxis with heparin.

Umbilical artery catheters in the newborn: effects of heparin

The umbilical artery catheters (tubes) (UACs) commonly used in neonatal intensive care to monitor babies can sometimes cause them problems. They can be placed in high or low positions, and come in different materials and designs. The blood anticoagulant, heparin, theoretically helps prevent blood clots forming (thromboses), but high doses could lead to haemorrhage (bleeding). This review found that low heparin doses are effective in preventing catheters becoming blocked and needing to be re‐inserted. There is not enough evidence to rule out the possibility of adverse effects. Heparin does not seem to lower the rate of blood clots in the major artery.

See all (112)

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