Heparin: Side Effects to Watch Out For

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The method in which the heparin causes the blood to become ‘thin’ would be by hindering the clotting ability of the blood. Thus, it may not be helpful in dissolving already established blood clots but would be useful in preventing such clots from becoming enlarged as well as new clots from forming in the blood vessels.

What is the relative incidence of side effects?

Heparin is being used widely in managing patients at the hospital setting and certain types of heparin can be used with minimum risk in places with fewer resources for managing acute emergencies as well. The drug is given as an injection either directly in to a vein or else under the skin. In most instances, patients tolerate the drug very well and the instances of developing side effects are relatively rare.

But, even though it is rare, knowing what are the side effects and acting accordingly can be the difference between life and death. As such, let us now see some of the side effects that are possible with heparin which will include both serious as well as less serious side effects.

What are the serious side effects of heparin?

As the heparin action is towards making the blood thinner, it may not clot even in instances where it needs to. Therefore, some of the serious manifestations would be due to continued bleeding from internal organs as well as from the peripheries. When considering the manifestations, easy bruising, heavy periods, gum bleeding, unexplained nose bleeds…etc should be taken in seriously. At the same time, occurrence of abdominal pain, back pain, blood in the urine and stools should also raise the alarm bells.

In certain instances, nervous system manifestations such as tingling of muscles and numbness, loss of bladder and bowel control needs to be intervened early as well. Such symptoms may indicate towards a bleeding that is taking place in relation to brain matter.

As with many other drugs, development of serious allergic reactions are also possible with heparin and manifestations such as breathing difficulties, wheezing, chest pan, hives, extensive itching, lip and facial swelling would also require urgent medical attention.

What are the less serious side effects?

According to manufacturer literature, it is possible to develop following less serious or mild symptoms as well. But, even though they are less serious, they should also be detected early and be treated urgently as possible.

Thus, among these symptoms, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, runny nose, watery eyes, headache, changes in the skin color as well as pain in the injection site are considered rather important.

What are the other side effects?

Apart from the above list, there may be other manifestations such as painful erection, osteoporosis, unusual hair loss as well as irregular heart beat which would lead the rest of the side effects


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