Heparin

Heparin:
• rapid acting (within minutes) – not absorbed orally  use IV or subcutaneous
• derived from animal tissue
• acts by binding with antithrombin III  limits clotting by inactivating thrombin, factor Xa and other factors
• prevents formation (does not dissolve existing ones)
• used for DVT and pulmonary embolism – especially if need rapid onset
• usually used a beginning of anticoagulant therapy
• prophylactic use for those at high risk
• not absorbed well from GI tract – given IV.
• adverse effects – excessive bleeding (especially if overdose), thrombocytopenia, hypersensitivity reaction
• protamine sulphate reverses action of heparin

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