Why are anticoagulants prescribed?
The human body has a complex mechanism called coagulation that causes blood to clot if a wound occurs. Under normal circumstances this is desirable; it allows the body to heal itself. Yet in some clinical conditions, coagulation can cause unwanted blood clots that may lead to complications and can be life threatening.
Oral anticoagulants, such as warfarin and phenprocoumon, are used to prevent blood clots and are often referred to as "blood thinners".
Anticoagulants are commonly prescribed for the following conditions:1-3
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
- Mechanical heart valves
- Venous thromboembolism
- Thrombophilia (tendency to cause blood clots)
- Heart attack