Antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants what are the differences

Antiplatelet agents are a group of drugs that prevent blood cells from sticking together and forming a blood clot. The list of OTC drugs is kindly provided by the doctor Alla Garkusha.

  • Preparations based on acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin and its twin brothers): aspirin cardio, thrombo-ass, cardiomagnyl, cardiASA, acecardol (the cheapest), aspicor and others;
  • medicines from the Ginkgo Biloba plant: ginos, bilobil, ginkio;
  • Vitamin E – Alfatocopherol (formally does not belong to this category, but exhibits such properties)

In addition to Ginkgo Biloba, many other plants have anti-aggregation properties, they should be used especially carefully in combination with drug therapy. Plant-based antiplatelet agents:

  • blueberries, horse chestnuts, licorice, niacin, onions, red clover, soy, must, wheat grass and willow bark, fish oil, celery, cranberries, garlic, soy, ginseng, ginger, green tea, papaya, pomegranate, onion, turmeric, St. John’s wort wheat grass

However, it should be remembered that the chaotic use of these plant substances can lead to undesirable side effects. All funds should be taken only under the supervision of blood tests and the constant supervision of a doctor.

The classification of antiplatelet drugs is determined by the mechanism of action. Although each type works in its own way, all these tools help keep platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots.

Aspirin is the most common among antiplatelet agents. It belongs to cyclooxygenase inhibitors and prevents the intensive formation of thromboxane. After a heart attack, patients take aspirin to prevent further blood clots in the arteries that feed the heart. Low dosages of aspirin (sometimes called “baby aspirin”) when taken daily may help.

  • ADP receptor blockers
  • glycoprotein receptor blockers – IIb / ІІІa
  • phosphodiesterase inhibitors


Other medicines that you take may increase or decrease the effect of antiplatelet agents. Be sure to tell your doctor about each medication, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking:

  • medicines containing aspirin;
  • non-stero >

When taking antiplatelet agents, you should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. You must notify your doctor or dentist that you are taking antiplatelet drugs before any surgical or dental procedure. Because any drug from the classification of antiplatelet agents reduces the blood’s ability to coagulate, and taking them before the intervention, you risk, as this can lead to excessive bleeding.

More about diseases

Talk with your doctor about your medical conditions before starting regular antiplatelet therapy. The risks of taking medication must be weighed against its benefits. Here are a few diseases that you should definitely tell your doctor if you are prescribed antiplatelet drugs. It:

  • allergy to antiplatelet drugs: ibuprofen or naproxen;
  • pregnancy and lactation;
  • hemophilia;
  • Hodgkin’s disease;
  • stomach ulcer;
  • other problems with the gastrointestinal tract;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • IHD;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • high pressure;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • gout;
  • anemia;
  • polyposis;
  • participating in sports or other activities that put you at risk for bleeding or bruising.

Sometimes a medicine causes unwanted effects. Not all side effects of antiplatelet therapy are listed below. If you feel that you have these or any other unpleasant sensations, be sure to tell your doctor.

Common side effects:

  • fatigue (fatigue);
  • heartburn;
  • headache;
  • indigestion or nausea;
  • pain in the stomach;
  • diarrhea;
  • nosebleeds.

Rare side effects:

  • an allergic reaction, with swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet or ankles;
  • skin rash, itching, or hives;
  • vomiting, especially if the vomit looks like coffee grounds;
  • dark or bloody stools or blood in the urine;
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing;
  • difficulty in pronouncing words;
  • unusual bleeding or bruising;
  • fever, chills, or sore throat;
  • cardiopalmus;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • joint pain;
  • weakness or numbness in the arm or leg;
  • confusion or hallucinations.

You may need to take antiplatelet drugs for the rest of your life, depending on your condition. You will need to have a blood test regularly to see your blood coagulate. The body’s response to antiplatelet therapy should be strictly controlled.

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.

No blood clots!

Antiplatelet (antiplatelet) and anticoagulant therapy are the basis for the prevention of repeated strokes. Although neither of these drugs can defragment (destroy) adhering blood cells (blood clots), they are effective in keeping the clot from further growth and further from blockage of blood vessels. The use of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants allowed to save the lives of many patients who have suffered a stroke or heart attack.

Anticoagulants are considered more aggressive than antiplatelet agents. They are recommended mainly for people with a high risk of stroke and patients with atrial fibrillation.

Although anticoagulants are effective for such patients, they are generally recommended only for patients with ischemic strokes. Anticoagulants are more expensive and have a higher risk of serious side effects, including hematomas and skin rashes, hemorrhages in the brain, stomach and intestines.

The patient is usually prescribed disaggregants if the history includes:

  • IHD;
  • heart attacks;
  • sore throats;
  • strokes, transient ischemic attacks (TIA);
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • in addition, antiplatelet agents are often prescribed in obstetrics to improve blood flow between the mother and the fetus.

Antiplatelet therapy can also be prescribed to patients before and after the procedures of angioplasty, stenting and coronary artery bypass grafting. All patients with atrial fibrillation or heart valve insufficiency are prescribed antiplatelet drugs.

Before proceeding to the description of different groups of antiplatelet agents and the complications associated with their use, I want to put a big and bold exclamation point: jokes are bad with antiplatelet agents! Even those sold over the counter have side effects!


Any medicines have contraindications. Consider in more detail the contraindications for taking antiplatelet agents:

  • stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer;
  • hemorrhage;
  • impaired liver and kidney function;
  • heart failure;
  • hemorrhagic stroke;
  • pregnancy and lactation.

When taking Aspirin, spasm of the bronchi may occur, therefore, acetylsalicylic acid should not be taken by patients with asthma. It must also be remembered that Aspirin can contribute to stomach ulcers.

The most common side effects when taking antiplatelet agents are:

  • headache;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • dizziness;
  • hypotension;
  • the occurrence of bleeding;
  • allergic reactions.

Antiplatelet agents are not always prescribed. The main contraindications include development:

  1. Pathology of the digestive tract (reception is impossible even against the background of bleeding).
  2. Various renal abnormalities (reception is not possible against the background of the presence of symptoms of hematuria).
  3. Pathology of the liver (reception is impossible against a background of severe dysfunction of this organ).

Also, taking antiplatelet agents is not possible if the patient has signs of renal failure. These medicines are not prescribed in the acute form of aneurysm of the heart.

Of particular danger is the risk of side effects. This is especially true for anticoagulants. Disaggregants practically do not have an adverse effect on the body.

The most common side effect is the occurrence of an allergic reaction. Also, often patients complain of headaches. Hemorrhagic complications are sometimes observed. In rare cases, bleeding is localized in other places.

Taking these potent medicines on your own is strictly not recommended. Only a doctor can set the dosage. Therapy is prescribed only after an accurate diagnosis is established.

Antiplatelet agents are substances that have many side effects, so they are always prescribed with great care, carefully weighing the pros and cons. But there are several pathological conditions, the presence of which in the patient is an absolute ban on the use of drugs:


Antiplatelet agents are drugs that affect the blood coagulation system, preventing the adhesion of shaped elements, platelets. Disaggregants are another name for the drugs in this group, because, in fact, natural or synthetic substances block platelet aggregation (gluing), inhibiting the formation of blood clots.

Coronary heart disease, for example, is always accompanied by the formation of atherosclerotic plaques on the endothelium of blood vessels of various calibers. Any microtrauma of the vascular wall is an occasion for point deposition at the site of a lipid defect. If such a plaque is damaged, in turn, then platelets settle on it, which try to cover up the defect that has formed.

From platelets, biologically active substances begin to stand out, attracting more and more platelets. If such aggregation is not prevented, part of the clusters begins to circulate through the bloodstream, settling in the most unpredictable areas. The vessels are thrombosed, the nutrition of internal organs and tissues is disturbed, the debut of unstable angina is provoked.

Antiplatelet agents (antiplatelet agents), when administered, block the process of adhesion at the biochemical level, preventing the development of negative pathological conditions. Ultimately, drugs contribute to:

  • blood thinning;
  • restoration of rheological properties of tissues;
  • normalization of blood pressure on the vessel wall;
  • prevention of degenerative processes in the endothelium of veins and arteries.

A dangerous minus of this action is the risk of bleeding, which can lead the patient to death with uncontrolled admission. That is why taking antiplatelet agents is possible only on the recommendation of a doctor, with constant monitoring of blood coagulation.

Another danger lies in the combined use of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants (Streptokinase, for example), which enhance the action of each other, causing uncontrolled internal bleeding with a fatal outcome.

The fundamental difference is that aspirin and other antiplatelet agents stop platelet aggregation. Anticoagulants, on the other hand, have an effect on extracellular coagulation factors of the blood, work almost at lightning speed, and therefore they are used in emergency conditions associated with thrombosis or thrombophlebitis.

Start taking antiplatelet agents only after consultation with your doctor. It is unacceptable to self-medicate, since there are contraindications to their intake and the occurrence of side effects is not ruled out.

If there are any unusual symptoms or manifestations of an allergic reaction, you must immediately stop taking the drug and consult a doctor.

Different specialists are involved in the appointment of antiplatelet agents, depending on the disease:

  • cardiologist with heart disease;
  • neurologist with diseases of cerebral vessels;
  • phlebologist or vascular surgeon with lesions of veins and arteries of the lower extremities.

Anticoagulants are drugs that are prescribed for the treatment and prevention of venous thrombosis, as well as preventing complications of atrial fibrillation.

The most popular anticoagulant is warfarin, which is a synthetic derivative of the plant material coumarin. The use of warfarin for anticoagulation began in 1954, and since then this drug has played an important role in reducing the mortality of patients prone to thrombosis. Warfarin suppresses vitamin K by decreasing the hepatic synthesis of vitamin K-dependent blood coagulation factors.

The dose is selected individually for each patient, after a thorough study of a blood test. It is strongly not recommended to independently change the selected dosage of the drug. Too large a dose will mean that blood clots do not form quickly enough, which means that the risk of bleeding and non-healing scratches and bruises will increase.

Too low a dosage means that blood clots can still develop and spread throughout the body. Warfarin is usually taken once a day, at the same time (usually before bedtime). An overdose can cause uncontrolled bleeding. In this case, vitamin K and freshly frozen plasma are administered.

Warfarin is the most popular anticoagulant

Other drugs with anticoagulant properties:

  • dabigatran (pradakas): inhibits thrombin (factor IIa), preventing the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin;
  • rivaroxaban (xarelto): inhibits factor Xa, preventing the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin;
  • apixaban (elivix): also suppresses factor Xa, has weak anticoagulant properties.

Compared to warfarin, these relatively new drugs have many advantages:

  • prevent thromboembolism;
  • less risk of bleeding;
  • less interactions with other drugs;
  • a shorter half-life, which means it will take a minimum of time to reach peak levels of active substances in the plasma.

Antiplatelet agents – a group of pharmacological drugs that inhibit thrombosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and inhibiting their adhesion to the inner surface of blood vessels.

These drugs not only inhibit the functioning of the blood coagulation system, but also improve its rheological properties and destroy existing aggregates.

Under the influence of antiplatelet agents, the elasticity of erythrocyte membranes decreases, they deform and easily pass through the capillaries. Blood flow improves, the risk of complications decreases. Antiplatelet agents are most effective in the initial stages of blood coagulation, when platelet aggregation and the formation of a primary thrombus occur.

points of application and action of major antiplatelet agents

Antiplatelet agents are used in the postoperative period for the prevention of thrombosis, with thrombophlebitis, IHD, acute ischemia of the heart and brain, post-infarction cardiosclerosis.

Cardiac pathology and impaired metabolism are accompanied by the formation of cholesterol plaques on the arterial endothelium, which narrow the lumen of the vessels. The blood flow in the affected area slows down, the blood coagulates, a blood clot forms, on which platelets continue to settle. Blood clots spread through the bloodstream, enter the coronary vessels and clog them. There is acute myocardial ischemia with characteristic clinical symptoms.

Antiplatelet and anticoagulation therapy are the basis for the treatment and prevention of strokes and heart attacks. Neither antiplatelet agents, nor anticoagulants can destroy the formed thrombus. They keep the clot from further growth and prevent clogging of blood vessels. Preparations of these groups allow patients to survive acute ischemia.

Anticoagulants, in contrast to antiplatelet agents, are more aggressive. They are considered more expensive and have a higher risk of side effects.

Special instructions and tips

Take antiplatelet agents for a long time in the right dosages. Do not exceed or reduce the dose, and do not cancel the drug yourself. A blood test should be done regularly to monitor platelet count.

Preparations of this group are an indispensable prophylactic for vascular diseases. Thanks to them, you can maintain your health for many years, as well as extend your life. The main thing is to timely detect the presence of a disease in which the intake of antiplatelet agents is indicated.

The doctor will help you choose the right drug, prescribe a course of treatment. You should adhere to these recommendations, do not cancel the medicine yourself.

In addition to taking any drugs, you should reconsider your lifestyle. Regulate nutrition, introduce more fresh vegetables and fruits into the diet.

Less should eat fatty foods, starchy foods. Also, proper and feasible physical activity will help strengthen the body. You need to walk more in the fresh air and get the maximum amount of positive emotions.

Help with vein diseases.

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What is the difference between anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents?

There are a number of medications that are designed to thin the blood. All these drugs can be divided into two types: anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. They fundamentally differ in the mechanism of action. It’s quite difficult for a person without a medical education to understand this difference, but the article will give simplified answers to the most important questions.

After studying the properties of the two types of drugs, we can conclude that they are both designed to do the same job (thin the blood), but using different methods. The difference between the mechanisms of action is that anticoagulants usually act on proteins in the blood to prevent the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin (the key element that forms clots). But antiplatelet agents directly affect platelets (by binding and blocking receptors on their surface).

When blood coagulation is activated, special mediators are released by damaged tissues, and platelets respond to these signals, sending special chemicals that trigger blood coagulation. Antiplatelet agents block these signals.

Blood-thinning Precautions

Blood coagulation is the result of a complex sequence of events known as hemostasis. Thanks to this function, bleeding stops, and blood vessels quickly recover. This is due to the fact that tiny fragments of blood cells (platelets) stick together and “seal” the wound. The coagulation process includes as many as 12 coagulation factors that convert fibrinogen into a network of fibrin filaments.

It looks like a blood clot

Excessive coagulation leads to the formation of blood clots, which can completely block blood vessels and stop blood flow. This condition is known as thrombosis. If the disease is ignored, then parts of the blood clot can come off and move through the blood vessels, which can lead to such serious conditions:

  • transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke);
  • heart attack;
  • peripheral artery gangrene;
  • heart attack of the kidneys, spleen, intestines.

Thinning blood with the right drugs will help prevent blood clots or destroy existing ones.

If anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents are prescribed (sometimes they can be prescribed in combination), then it is necessary to periodically undergo a blood coagulation test. The results of this simple analysis will help your doctor determine the exact dose of medication you need to take every day. Patients taking anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents should inform dentists, pharmacists, and other health care providers about the dosage and time taken.

It is necessary to inform doctors that blood thinners are being taken.

Because of the risk of severe bleeding, anyone taking blood thinners should protect themselves from injuries. You should refuse to engage in sports and other potentially dangerous activities (tourism, riding a motorcycle, active games). Any falls, bumps or other injuries should be reported to your doctor.

Even minor trauma can lead to internal bleeding that can occur without any obvious symptoms. Particular attention should be paid to shaving and brushing with special floss. Even such simple everyday procedures can lead to prolonged bleeding.

It looks like a blood clot

What are antiplatelet agents and how do they work?

Antiplatelet agents inhibit the production of thromboxane and are prescribed for the prevention of stroke and heart attack. Drugs of this type inhibit platelet adhesion and blood clot formation.

Aspirin is one of the most inexpensive and common antiplatelet drugs. Many patients who recover from a heart attack are prescribed aspirin in order to stop the further formation of blood clots in the coronary arteries. By agreement with your doctor, you can take low doses of the drug on a daily basis for the prevention of thrombosis and heart disease.

Aspirin is the most common antiplatelet agent.

Adenosine diphosphate receptor (ADP) inhibitors are prescribed for patients who have suffered a stroke, as well as those who have had heart valve replacement. Glycoprotein inhibitors are injected directly into the bloodstream to prevent the formation of blood clots.

S >

Like all other medicines, taking antiplatelet agents can cause unwanted effects. If the patient has discovered any of the following side effects, it is necessary to ask the doctor for a review of the prescribed medications.

Antiplatelet agents have many side effects.

  • allergic reactions (accompanied by swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet or ankles);
  • skin rash, itching, urticaria;
  • vomiting, especially if vomit contains blood clots;
  • dark or bloody stools, blood in the urine;
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing;
  • problems with speech;
  • fever, chills, or sore throat;
  • fast heartbeat (arrhythmia);
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes;
  • joint pain;
  • hallucinations.

When taking anticoagulants, side effects occur that differ from the complications that can occur when taking antiplatelet agents. The main side effect is that the patient may suffer from long and frequent bleeding. This may cause the following problems:

  • blood in the urine;
  • black feces;
  • bruising on the skin;
  • prolonged nosebleeds;
  • bleeding gums;
  • vomiting of blood or hemoptysis;
  • prolonged menstruation in women.

But for most people, the benefits of taking anticoagulants outweigh the risk of bleeding.

The main thing is to inform the attending physician at the first signs of discomfort. Side effects are:

  • unmotivated fatigue;
  • sternal discomfort of a burning character;
  • severe headaches, migraine;
  • dyspepsia;
  • any bleeding;
  • soreness in the epigastrium;
  • an allergic reaction up to anaphylaxis;
  • urticaria, hemorrhage;
  • constant nausea, periodic vomiting;
  • impaired speech, swallowing, breathing;
  • arrhythmias, tachycardia;
  • yellowness of the skin and mucous membranes;
  • hyperthermia of unknown origin;
  • prodromal syndrome with increasing weakness;
  • arthralgia;
  • hallucinations;
  • noise in ears;
  • symptoms of intoxication.

Cancellation of drugs in such cases is required.

Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.