The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

Anticoagulant Drugs

Anticoagulant drugs work to prevent or delay the normal function of platelets in coagulation and the formation of blood clots. Normally, the ability of the body to form blood clots is life-saving -- without it, we could bleed to death from a small cut. However, blood clots can also be life-threatening. If a blood clot forms inside an artery, it can occlude blood flow and reduce blood supply to parts of the body.

In the brain, this can result in a stroke. Patients who have experienced a stroke or who are at risk of stroke are often prescribed anticoagulant drugs, which inhibit the action of platelets and the formation of blood clots. However, long-term anticoagulant use entails serious risks, including risk of internal bleeding.

Popular anticoagulant drugs include aspirin and warfarin.

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by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain