Author Affiliation: Section of Hematology/Oncology, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey.
Edited by Thomas C. Jefferson, MD, Contributing
Each year thromboembolism affects millions of individuals worldwide.
As a result, anticoagulants are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in
clinical practice. Heparin sodium and warfarin sodium are used alone or sequentially
for primary and secondary prophylaxis in the management of a variety of thrombotic
diseases. Bleeding complications associated with these agents are well-known;
however, the risks and causes of paradoxical venous or arterial thrombosis
occurring during anticoagulant therapy have only recently been elucidated.
This article reviews the current understanding of serious acquired-prothrombotic
states that can occasionally develop during treatment with anticoagulants.
As background, a brief description of each drug's mechanism of action is first
Ballard JO. Anticoagulant-Induced Thrombosis. JAMA. 1999;282(4):310-312. doi:10.1001/jama.282.4.310