Blood-thinning medications include anticoagulants, such as warfarin, and anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin, explains MedlinePlus. Anticoagulants slow down the process of clot formation, while anti-platelet drugs prevent platelets from forming a blood clot.
Common anticoagulants include heparin, enoxaparin and warfarin, notes Healthline. Some anticoagulants, such as Pradaxa, Xarelto and Eliquis are taken orally as pills, explains WebMD. The Food and Drug Administration approved these oral anticoagulants recently, and they have a lower bleeding risk compared to warfarin, according to the American Stroke Association.
Other anticoagulants such as heparin, Fragmin and Lovenox are injected in the vein or just under the skin in subcutaneous fat, explains WebMD. Low-molecular-weight heparin may be prescribed for use at home under the supervision of a doctor, notes the Texas Heart Institute.
Anti-platelet drugs include aspirin, ticlopidine, dipyridamole and clopidogrel, states the American Stroke Association. Anti-platelet medications work by inhibiting thromboxane production. However, they are less aggressive than anticoagulants and are not advisable for patients who suffer from peptic ulcers, liver diseases, kidney diseases and high blood pressure.
Since anticoagulants are more aggressive, they are recommended for patients who are at high risk of suffering from a stroke, according to the American Stroke Association. They are also recommended for patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation. Unfortunately, patients who take anticoagulants may have several side effects, and these drugs are more likely to interact with other drugs, vitamins and certain foods.