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Bleeding is the chief sign of heparin overdosage. Nosebleeds, blood in urine or tarry stools may be noted as the first sign of bleeding. Easy bruising or petechial formations may precede frank bleeding.


Neutralization of heparin effect.

When clinical circumstances (bleeding) require reversal of heparinization, protamine sulfate (1% solution) by slow infusion will neutralize heparin sodium. No more than 50 mg should be administered, very slowly in any 10 minute period. Each mg of protamine sulfate neutralizes approximately 100 USP heparin units. The amount of protamine required decreases over time as heparin is metabolized. Although the metabolism of heparin is complex, it may, for the purpose of choosing a protamine dose, be assumed to have a half-life of about ½ hour after intravenous injection.

Administration of protamine sulfate can cause severe hypotensive and anaphylactoid reactions. Because fatal reactions often resembling anaphylaxis have been reported, the drug should be given only when resuscitation techniques and treatment of anaphylactoid shock are readily available.

For additional information, the labeling of Protamine Sulfate Injection, USP products should be consulted.


Heparin sodium should not be used in patients:

With severe thrombocytopenia;
In whom suitable blood coagulation tests — e.g., the whole blood clotting time, partial thromboplastin time, etc. — cannot be performed at appropriate intervals (this contraindication refers to full-dose heparin; there is usually no need to monitor coagulation parameters in patients receiving low-dose heparin);
With an uncontrollable active bleeding state (see WARNINGS), except when this is due to disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Intravenous solutions with Heparin Sodium Injection are contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to heparin.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/23/2012


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