If you're taking a blood thinner, is it still possible to get a blood clot?
Answer From Rekha Mankad, M.D.
Yes. Medications that are commonly called blood thinners — such as aspirin, warfarin (Jantoven), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis), edoxaban (Savaysa) and heparin — greatly decrease your risk of blood clotting. But they don't prevent blood clots completely.
These medications must be taken exactly as directed to work safely and effectively. Taking too little of these medications might not be effective and taking too much can lead to serious bleeding.
Also, blood thinners might not be able to lessen the strong blood-clotting tendency of an underlying disease, such as cancer.
Other medications, food and alcohol can change the way blood thinners work, and a blood thinner can change the way other medications work. For example, foods that are high in vitamin K can work against warfarin, but not other blood thinners.
If you take a blood thinner, be sure to follow your health care provider's advice on dosing. Ask about foods and other medications — including drugs you buy without a prescription and herbal supplements — that can interfere with how the blood thinner works.
June 08, 2022
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- Blood thinner pills: Your guide to using them safely. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. https://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/diagnosis-treatment/treatments/btpills/btpills.html#booklet. Accessed Jan. 14, 2022.
- A patient's guide to taking warfarin. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/prevention--treatment-of-arrhythmia/a-patients-guide-to-taking-warfarin. Accessed Jan. 14, 2022.
- Leung LLK. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) and parenteral direct-acting anticoagulants: Dosing and adverse effects. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 14, 2022.
- Venous thromboembolism. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/venous-thromboembolism. Accessed Jan. 14, 2022.
- What are anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents? American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/order-american-heart-association-educational-brochures/anticoagulants-and-antiplatelet-agents-brochure. Accessed Jan.14, 2022.