Anticoagulation refers to the prevention of blood from clotting. An anticoagulant is a chemical that prevents coagulation. The body contains a number of naturally occurring physiological anticoagulants, but other anticoagulants are used as pharmacological agents to prevent and treat thrombotic disorders such as coronary artery disease causing ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease causing stroke, peripheral arterial disease causing limb ischemia, and venous thromboembolic disease.
Commonly used anticoagulation medications include warfarin (Coumadin®), heparin and low molecular weight heparin compounds such as enoxaparin (Lovenox®), tinzaparin (Innohep®), and dalteparin (Fragmin®). New oral anticoagulants, which use a different mechanism of action, have recently gained widespread use. These medications include apixaban (Eliquis®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), edoxaban (Savaysa®), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®).
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