Heparin is a member of the group of medications known as anticoagulants. Anticoagulants reduce the clotting ability of the blood and so prevent harmful blood clots from forming in blood vessels.
Heparin is used to prevent a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition is associated with the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels in the leg. These blood clots can sometimes travel to the lungs and block blood vessels there, resulting in a serious condition known as pulmonary embolism.
Heparin is also used to prevent blood clotting during dialysis, to prevent clotting of intravenous lines, to prevent unwanted blood clotting during open-heart surgery, and to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Heparin is often used after a person has had a heart attack and for people who have unstable angina (chest pain that occurs even at rest). It is also sometimes used to treat strokes that are caused by blood clots.
Each mL of sterile, nonpyrogenic solution contains 10 or 100 USP units of heparin sodium (derived from porcine intestinal mucosa), sodium chloride, edetate disodium anhydrous as a stabilizer, and water for injection. Also contains benzyl alcohol and sodium hydroxide.
Heparin is given by injection. It can be injected under the skin (subcutaneously) or given into a vein by a procedure called intravenous infusion. The recommended dose and route of administration of heparin varies according to the individual and the condition being treated. Your doctor will choose the dose that is most likely to prevent blood clots but not cause you to bleed easily.
Doses of heparin vary on an individual basis. People taking heparin will need to be monitored by taking blood tests scheduled by their health care provider in order to make sure that they receive the proper amount of medication.
Many things can affect the dose or schedule of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If the schedule or dose of your medication is different from the ones listed above, do not change the way that you use the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss an injection, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next injection, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not inject a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from heat, and keep it out of the reach of children. If you are using the multiple dose vial, discard any remaining medication in the vial 28 days after the first use.
Do not use this medication if you:
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Blood clotting: This medication is intended to prevent unwanted blood clots, but it can make you bleed more easily. You should be careful when performing activities that increase your risk of bleeding. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won’t stop bleeding.
Kidney problems: If you have kidney problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver problems: If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Medical conditions: Heparin increases the risk of bleeding complications for many people with ongoing medical conditions. If you have subacute bacterial endocarditis, blood or blood vessel disorders, severe high blood pressure, indwelling catheters, inaccessible gastrointestinal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, continuous tube drainage of stomach or small intestine, or menstruation, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Osteoporosis: People who receive long-term, daily doses of heparin should be monitored by their doctor for possible development of osteoporosis (brittle bones) or fractures.
Pregnancy: Although heparin is the anticoagulant (blood-thinner) of choice during pregnancy, caution needs to be exercised due to risk of bleeding, especially during the third trimester and immediately after the birth. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Heparin does not pass into breast milk; however, the preservative in some of the multi-dose vials, benzyl alcohol, does pass into breast milk. Benzyl alcohol can cause complications for newborn, premature, or low-birth-weight infants. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking heparin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Seniors: Seniors may be at an increased risk of bleeding while using heparin. Your doctor will adjust your dose accordingly.
There may be an interaction between heparin and any of the following:
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Heparin-Lock-Flush