What are the Different Treatments for Thrombosis?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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A person who suffers from thrombosis can be treated through an intravenous (IV) line, an injection, or a pill. Different treatments for thrombosis will vary depending on the severity and types of thrombosis. Thrombosis is the term used to describe a blood clot that occurs in a blood vessel, vein, or artery, which causes an obstruction and prohibits blood from flowing properly.

Heparins are one of the different treatments for thrombosis. It is a type of blood thinner. As a medication that has a rapid activation rate, heparin is a common choice in hospital emergency rooms. This anticoagulant can be given by an injection, but for emergency care it is given through an IV line.

The side effects of heparin include rash, stomach upset, and headaches. It can also cause bleeding, which is a serious and common side effect. Rare or less common side effects include osteoporosis and the development of a low platelet count. These two side effects occur when heparin is used on a long-term basis.

Low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) are another one of the treatments for thrombosis. These forms of heparin are quite similar to standard heparins. The biggest difference is that an LMWH can be provided in a home environment. LMWHs can be injected, which reduces the length of stay in the hospital.


LMWH has similar side effects as standard heparin. With an LMWH, however, heparin induced thrombocytopenia and osteoperosis are less likely to occur. A major disadvantage of these particular different treatments for thrombosis are that they are more expensive than standard heparins.

Warfarin-based anticoagulants are the third category of treatments for thrombosis. These types of medications are in pill form. Warfarins are commonly used for non-emergency cases, but can also be combined with an IV heparin for more long term treatment. A doctor will prescribe use of this medication for several weeks as part of a longer treatment plan. These pills can also be prescribed to be taken for an entire lifeline to treat a blood clotting disorder.

Out of all three different treatments for thrombosis, warfarins take the longest to become effective. Usually one of the other two forms of treatment will be used for a few days and stopped once the warfarin begins to work. Blood tests, particularly tests to measure clotting time, are required to measure how effective the medication is.

Like other treatments, the main side effect of warfarin is bleeding. Patients may also experience hair loss, elevated liver enzymes, and skin necrosis. In many cases, the side effects will go away, but a doctor should be informed. If unusual side effects occur, such as a rash or itching, immediate medical attention is needed to combat the possibility of an allergic reaction.


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