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Definition of Anticoagulant

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Anticoagulant: An agent that is used to prevent the formation of blood clots. Anticoagulants have various uses. Some are used for the prevention or treatment of disorders characterized by abnormal blood clots and emboli. Examples of diseases and conditions that require anticoagulant treatment to reduce the risk of blood clots include heart attack, stroke, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and atrial fibrillation. There are different classes of anticoagulant drugs:

  • Vitamin K antagonists
  • Low molecular weight heparins
  • Direct thrombin inhibitors
  • Factor Xa inhibitors

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