Who should take anticoagulants?
Your doctor may recommend anticoagulants to help prevent the above conditions if they feel you're at risk.
This may be because you have:
- developed blood clots in the past
- recently had surgery that means you're unable to move around much while you recover, such as a hip replacement or knee replacement
- had an aortic valve replacement – as blood clots can form on the surface of the new heart valve
- atrial fibrillation – a type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can cause blood clots to form in the heart
- a condition where the blood has an increased tendency to form clots (thrombophilia), such as Factor V Leiden
- antiphospholipid syndrome – where the immune system attack fats and proteins in the blood vessels, causing the blood to clot
Anticoagulants are also sometimes used to treat blood clots, such as DVT or a pulmonary embolism, by stopping the clot getting bigger while your body slowly reabsorbs it.
How long you'll need to take anticoagulants for will depend on why they're needed. You might only need to take them for a short time after a hip or knee replacement, but treatment may be lifelong if you have a long-term condition that increases your risk of blood clots.