Many people with AFib need to take anticoagulants (sometimes called blood-thinners) to reduce the possibility of blood clots. Common reasons this type of medication may be prescribed include:
"Blood-thinning medicines" actually slow the blood’s ability to clot, which can help to prevent blood clots from developing and traveling to the brain, causing a stroke.
Anticoagulants are usually given by mouth. In some cases, such as in the hospital, they may be given by vein (intravenously) or injected just under the skin (subcutaneously).
Bleeding may be a complication of taking these medications. Tell your doctor if you begin to bruise easily, or you notice unusual bleeding anywhere including gums or nose bleeds.
One type of anticoagulant, warfarin (Coumadin), requires lab work that may be done in an Anticoagulation Lab or may be done at home. The newer FDA approved anticoagulants, or novel oral anticoagulants ("NOACs"), such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban generally do not require these regular lab tests to assess clotting time and thus will not be addressed in this section.
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