Heparin: what it is, what it’s for, how to use it and side effects


Heparin is an injectable anticoagulant that prevents thrombus formation and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism and pre-infarction angina

Its administration should be carried out by a nurse or doctor, through an injection into the skin or vein, being for exclusively hospital use.

Heparin: what it is, what it's for, how to use it and side effects

What’s the point

Heparin is a medicine that inhibits blood clotting and is indicated for the prevention of arteriovenous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

What is the relationship between heparin use and COVID-19?

Heparin, although it does not contribute to eliminate the new coronavirus from the body, has been used, in some cases, to treat thromboembolic complications that may arise with COVID-19 disease.

This type of complications occurs because the immune response causes an exaggerated activation of macrophages, which lead, in some patients, to a pathological response of thrombin, leading to the occurrence of thrombotic episodes, such as stroke, pulmonary embolism and other types of disseminated intravascular coagulation, which can be controlled with the use of heparin.

How to use

Heparin should be given by a healthcare professional, subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (in the vein).

The dosage should be individualized for each person, and always adjusted to the special circumstances of each case, taking into account the type of evolution of the pathology, body weight and age of the patient and side effects.

Possible side effects

Some of the most common side effects that can occur during treatment with heparin are bleeding, and the presence of blood in the urine, the appearance of hematomas and a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood can be verified.

Who should not use

Heparin is contraindicated in people with hypersensitivity to heparin and formula components and should not be used by people with severe thrombocytopenia, subacute bacterial endocarditis, with suspected intracranial hemorrhage or uncontrollable active bleeding, hemophilia, retinopathy, in situations where there are no conditions for proper coagulation tests and disorders that result in damage to the vascular system.

In addition, it should also not be used in hemorrhagic diastasis, spinal cord surgeries, in situations where abortion is imminent, severe coagulation diseases, severe liver and kidney failure, in the presence of malignant tumors with elevated capillary permeability of the digestive tract and some vascular purpuras.

This medicine should not be used by pregnant women without medical advice.

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