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Coagulation Modifier Drugs. Lilley Reading and Workbook, Chap 27. Coagulation Modifier Drugs. Anticoagulants Inhibit the action or formation of clotting factors Prevent clot formation Antiplatelet drugs Inhibit platelet aggregation Prevent platelet plugs Thrombolytic drugs

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Coagulation Modifier Drugs

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Coagulation modifier drugs

Coagulation Modifier Drugs

Lilley Reading and Workbook, Chap 27

Coagulation modifier drugs1

Coagulation Modifier Drugs

  • Anticoagulants

    • Inhibit the action or formation of clotting factors

    • Prevent clot formation

  • Antiplatelet drugs

    • Inhibit platelet aggregation

    • Prevent platelet plugs

  • Thrombolytic drugs

    • Lyse (break down) existing clots

  • Hemostatic or Antifibrinolytic drugs

    • Promote blood coagulation



  • The process that halts bleeding after injury to a blood vessel

  • Complex relationship between substances that promote clot formation and either inhibit coagulation or dissolve a formed clot



  • Have no direct effect on a blood clot that is already formed

  • Used prophylactically to prevent

    • Clot formation (thrombus)

    • An embolus (dislodged clot)

Coagulation system

Coagulation System

  • “Cascade”

  • Each activated factor serves as a catalyst that amplifies the next reaction

  • Result is fibrin, a clot-forming substance

  • Intrinsic pathway and extrinsic pathway

Anticoagulants mechanism of action

Anticoagulants:Mechanism of Action

  • Vary, depending on drug

  • Work on different points of the clotting cascade

  • Do not lyse existing clots

  • Heparin

  • & low-molecular-weight heparins enoxaparin (Lovenox)

    • Turn off coagulation pathway and prevent clot formation

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

    All ultimately prevent clot formation



  • Prevention of clot formation also prevents:

    • Stroke

    • Myocardial infarction (MI)

    • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

    • Pulmonary embolism (PE)

Anticoagulants indications

Anticoagulants: Indications

  • Used to prevent clot formation in certain settings where clot formation is likely

    • Stroke

      • Atrial fibrillation

    • Myocardial infarction (MI) / Unstable Angina

    • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

    • Pulmonary embolism (PE)

    • Indwelling devices, such as mechanical heart valves

    • Major orthopedic surgery

Anticoagulants adverse effects

Anticoagulants:Adverse Effects

  • Bleeding

    • Risk increases with increased dosages

    • May be localized or systemic

  • May also cause

    • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, thrombocytopenia, others



  • Heparin

    • Monitored by activated partial thromboplastin times (aPTTs)

      • Goal: Therapeutic range based on body weight based dosage

      • aPTT between 1.5 – 2.5 times normal control level

    • Parenteral – IV bolus followed by infusion

    • Never mixed with any other medication

    • Short half-life (1 to 2 hours)

    • Effects reversed by protamine sulfate

    • Obtained from sheep, cows, and pigs

Heparin nursing implications

Heparin: Nursing Implications

  • Anticoagulant effects seen immediately

  • Laboratory values are done daily to monitor coagulation effects (aPTT)

  • Intravenous doses are usually double checked with another nurse

  • Ensure that SC doses are given SC, not IM

  • SC doses should be given in areas of deep subcutaneous fat, and sites rotated

  • Bleeding precautions



  • Low-molecular-weight heparins

    • enoxaparin (Lovenox)

    • dalteparin (Fragmin)

    • More predictable anticoagulant response

    • Do not require frequent laboratory monitoring

    • Given subcutaneously – rotate sites

    • Patient may be instructed for home administration

    • Bleeding precautions

    • Protamine sulfate can be given as an antidote in case of excessive anticoagulation



  • warfarin sodium (Coumadin)

    • Given orally only – usually late afternoon – same time daily

    • Monitored by INR (INR) - 2-4 depending on diagnosis

      • (Prothrombin time – lab-specific -- 1 ½ - 2 ½ times the control 12-15 sec)

      • Dose changed according to INR results

    • phytonadione (Vitamin K) can be given if toxicity occurs

Warfarin nursing implications

Warfarin - Nursing Implications


  • Patient history, medication history, allergies

  • Contraindications

  • Baseline vital signs, laboratory values

  • Potential drug interactions—there are MANY!

  • History of abnormal bleeding conditions

  • Usually started 2-3 days prior to heparin infusion being discontinued - until PT-INR levels indicate adequate anticoagulation

    • Full therapeutic effect takes several days

  • Monitor PT-INR regularly—keep follow-up appointments

  • Antidote is phytonadione (Vitamin K)

Warfarin nursing implications1

Warfarin -- Nursing Implications

  • Many herbal products have potential interactions—increased bleeding may occur

    • Capsicum pepper

    • Garlic

    • Ginger

    • Gingko

    • Ginseng

    • Feverfew

Antiplatelet drugs

Antiplatelet Drugs


  • Antithrombotic effects

    • Reduce risk of fatal and nonfatal strokes

  • Adverse effects

    • Vary according to drug

Antiplatelet drugs1

Antiplatelet Drugs

  • Prevent platelet adhesion

    • Aspirin

    • dipyridamole (Persantine)

    • clopidogrel (Plavix) and ticlopidine (Ticlid)

      • ADP inhibitors

    • tirofiban (Aggrastat), eptifibatide (Integrilin)

      • New class, GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors

Antiplatelet drugs nursing implications

Antiplatelet Drugs:Nursing Implications

Concerns and teaching tips

  • Same as for Anticoagulants

    • Dipyridamole should be taken on an empty stomach

    • Drug-drug interactions

    • Adverse reactions to report

    • Monitoring for abnormal bleeding

Antifibrinolytic drugs

Antifibrinolytic Drugs

  • Prevent the lysis of fibrin

  • Results: promote clot formation

  • Used for prevention and treatment of excessive bleeding resulting from hyperfibrinolysis or surgical complications

  • aminocaproic acid (Amicar)

  • desmopressin (DDAVP)

    • Similar to ADH

    • Also used in the treatment of diabetes insipidus

Antifibrinolytic drugs indications

Antifibrinolytic Drugs:Indications

  • Prevention and treatment of excessive bleeding

    • Hyperfibrinolysis

    • Surgical complications

    • Excessive oozing from surgical sites such as chest tubes

    • Reducing total blood loss and duration of bleeding in the postoperative period

Antifibrinolytic drugs adverse effects

Antifibrinolytic Drugs:Adverse Effects

  • Uncommon and mild

  • Rare reports of thrombotic events

  • Others include:

    • Dysrhythmia, orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, others

Thrombolytic drugs

Thrombolytic Drugs

  • Drugs that break down, or lyse, preformed clots

  • Older drugs

    • streptokinase and urokinase

  • Newer drugs

    • Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA)

    • Anisoylated plasminogen-streptokinase activator complex (APSAC)

Thrombolytic drugs cont d

Thrombolytic Drugs (cont’d)

  • streptokinase (Streptase)

  • anistreplase (Eminase)

  • alteplase (t-PA, Activase)

  • reteplase (Retavase)

  • tenecteplase (TNKase)

  • drotrecogin alfa (Xigris)

Thrombolytic drugs mechanism of action

Thrombolytic Drugs: Mechanism of Action

  • Activate the fibrinolytic system to break down the clot in the blood vessel quickly

  • Activate plasminogen and convert it to plasmin, which can digest fibrin

  • Reestablish blood flow to the heart muscle via coronary arteries, preventing tissue destruction

Thrombolytic drugs indications

Thrombolytic Drugs: Indications

  • Acute MI

  • Arterial thrombolysis

  • DVT

  • Occlusion of shunts or catheters

  • Pulmonary embolus

  • Acute ischemic stroke – Code Green

Thrombolytic drugs adverse effects

Thrombolytic Drugs: Adverse Effects


    • Internal

    • Intracranial

    • Superficial

  • Other effects

    • Nausea, vomiting, hypotension, anaphylactoid reactions

    • Cardiac dysrhythmias

Nursing implications

Nursing Implications


  • Patient history, medication history, allergies

  • Contraindications

  • Baseline vital signs, laboratory values

  • Potential drug interactions—there are MANY!

  • History of abnormal bleeding conditions

Thrombolytic drugs nursing implications

Thrombolytic Drugs:Nursing Implications

  • Follow strict manufacturer’s guidelines for preparation and administration

  • Monitor IV sites for bleeding, redness, pain

  • Monitor for bleeding from gums, mucous membranes, nose, injection sites

  • Observe for signs of internal bleeding (decreased BP, restlessness, increased pulse)

Anticoagulants patient education

Anticoagulants:Patient Education

Education should include:

  • Importance of regular lab testing

  • Signs of abnormal bleeding

  • Measures to prevent bruising, bleeding, or tissue injury

  • Wearing a medical alert bracelet

  • Avoiding foods high in vitamin K (tomatoes, dark leafy green vegetables)

  • Consulting physician before taking other meds or OTC products, including herbals

Coagulation modifier drugs nursing implications

Coagulation Modifier DrugsNursing Implications

  • Monitor for therapeutic effects

  • Monitor for signs of excessive bleeding

    • Bleeding of gums while brushing teeth, unexplained nosebleeds, heavier menstrual bleeding, bloody or tarry stools, bloody urine or sputum, abdominal pain, vomiting blood

  • Monitor for adverse effects

    • Increased BP, headache, hematoma formation, hemorrhage, shortness of breath, chills, fever



Antiplatelet agents act by:

1. preventing extension of existing clots.

2. preventing platelets from uniting.

3. dissolving existing clots.

4. increasing blood viscosity.



Doses of heparin are based on what laboratory


1. warfarin serum level

2. activated partial thromboplastin time


3. Lee White clotting time

4. prothrombin time (PT) and INR



Nursing responsibilities involved in the

administration of heparin subcutaneously


1. checking calculations with a second

qualified nurse.

2. using a 20-gauge needle to inject the


3. injecting the drug deep intramuscularly


4. aspirating before injecting the drug.



Clopidogrel (Plavix) is used to:

1. dissolve existing arterial blood clots.

2. prevent further movement of an embolus.

3. prevent platelet aggregation.

4. prevent extension of an existing


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