15 March 2010

What are blood thinners and how do they work?

Blood thinners, or anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, are drugs to thwart blood clotting of which could block flow of blood to your heart causing a heart attack or your brain causing a stroke.

Common anticoagulants are Coumadin, Warfarin and Heparin. It controls the rate in which clotting can occur and prevents them from forming inside blood vessels and the heart. It can also help prevent existing clots from enlarging.

Common antiplatelet agents are Aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) and Ticlid (ticlopidene hydrochloride). As the name suggests, they keep platelets from aggregation to prevent possible clotting, specifically where an injury to a blood vessel may have occurred.

Blood thinners aren't associated with any specific nutrient deficiency, but are contraindicated taken with foods and supplements high in vitamin K1 (a clotting factor) or large amounts of vitamins E and C. They are also contraindicated with alcohol, certain herbs and teas, and other dietary agents that cause thinning of blood.



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