Anticoagulants are used if you're at risk of developing blood clots that could potentially block a blood vessel and disrupt the flow of blood around your body.

This can lead to several serious conditions, including:

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:

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.

Page last reviewed: 26 July 2021
Next review due: 26 July 2024