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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: heparin (Pronunciation: HEP a rin)

What is heparin ()?

Heparin is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) that prevents the formation of blood clots.

Heparin is used to treat and prevent blood clots in the veins, arteries, or lung. Heparin is also used before surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Heparin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of heparin ()?

Heparin can cause you to have bleeding episodes while you are using it and for several weeks after you stop. Call your doctor at once if you have easy bruising or unusual bleeding, such as a nosebleed, blood in your urine or stools, black or tarry stools, or any bleeding that will not stop.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: nausea, vomiting, sweating, hives, itching, trouble breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, or feeling like you might pass out..

Some people receiving a heparin injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel nauseated, light-headed, sweaty, or short of breath during or after a heparin injection.

Stop using heparin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, fast heart rate;
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
  • trouble breathing; or
  • fever, chills, runny nose, or watery eyes.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild pain, redness, warmth, or skin changes where the medicine was injected;
  • mild itching of your feet; or
  • bluish-colored skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about heparin ()?

Before using heparin, tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, an infection involving your heart, hemophilia or other bleeding disorder, a stomach or intestinal disorder, liver disease, or if you are on your period.

Heparin can cause you to have bleeding episodes while you are using it and for several weeks after you stop. Call your doctor at once if you have easy bruising or unusual bleeding, such as a nosebleed, black or bloody tarry stools, or any bleeding that will not stop.

Certain medicines can increase your risk of bleeding while you are using heparin, such as aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Voltaren), diflunisal (Dolobid), etodolac (Lodine), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis), ketorolac (Toradol), mefenamic acid (Ponstel), meloxicam (Mobic), nabumetone (Relafen), piroxicam (Feldene), and others.

Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Women over 60 years of age may be more likely to have bleeding episodes while using heparin.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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