Difference Between Heparin and Coumadin

Internal blood clots are a medical emergency because they can cut off blood supply to the arms, legs, or, more critically, the lungs or brain. Heparin and Coumadin both function by lowering the natural clotting ability of platelets and plasma in the blood, although they do so in distinct ways. They also aid in the prevention of future blood clots. When some blood molecules (platelets and plasma proteins known as cofactors) clump together, they produce a semi-solid gel-like mass.

Heparin vs Coumadin

The main difference between Heparin and Coumadin is as certain variables that trigger thrombin helps in clotting blood, are inhibited by heparin medications. Coumadin antagonist is vitamin K based, meaning your blood clots less easily. That is, it affects your liver by changing vitamin K into other chemicals, or “factors,” that aid in blood clotting.

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Heparin is administered as a shot and acts faster than Coumadin. Un-fractionated heparin (UFH) is administered through an IV in a hospital setting. Your doctor will give you more if you weigh more. Your blood will be checked regularly by medical officials to make sure that your medication is correct.

Coumadin is indeed a premium brand for warfare, a blood thinner. Coumadin, like heparin, affects the action of specific plasma proteins in the body. Vitamin K, which regulates the formation of blood clotting cofactors, is affected by Coumadin. When vitamin K is unable to function properly, it hinders the production of these cofactors in the first place.

Comparison Table Between Heparin and Coumadin

Parameters of ComparisonHeparinCoumadin
DefinitionAn anticoagulant that works directly on blood vessels. It’s a mixture of sulfated mucopolysaccharides with a high molecular weight.Coumadin is an anticoagulant that works indirectly. It’s a natural substance.
MechanismPrevents fibrin and thrombin from doing their jobs properly.Prevents vitamin K from doing its job properly.
SpeedHeparin is more effective than Coumadin. When an immediate effect is required, it is advised.It takes longer to work, after 12-72 hours, the clinical effect appears. It is suggested for long-term treatment.
PregnancySafe during Pregnancy.
Not safe during Pregnancy
UsageHeparin is administered through injection. It is inactive and not absorbed after oral ingestion.It’s taken as a tablet. Coumadin is promptly and completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration.

What is Heparin?

Heparin functions by blocking the proper function of fibrin and thrombin, two plasma proteins. Blood clots cannot form as easily when certain cofactors (proteins that help to clot the blood) are inhibited. Heparin cannot destroy preexisting blood to clot in the body, but it can block it from growing or producing new clots.

Heparin is often administered as an injectable medicine. It can be administered intravenously (straight into a vein) or subcutaneously. Subcutaneous injections are administered using a tiny needle that is inserted directly under the skin into the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle.

Before being sent home, most people who take heparin outside of the hospital are trained how to give subcutaneous injections. These medications are also known as dalteparin (Fragmin) and enoxaparin. Your dose is determined by your weight, just like with UFH. These medications operate similarly to UFH. They are, however, more stable and do not necessitate hospital personnel monitoring.

Heparin works immediately to prevent clots, but it wears out quickly after medical personnel cease administering it. In the event of an emergency, an antidote can be used to reverse the effects. The patient is required to visit the hospital. Medical personnel must also keep a careful eye on you and may sample your blood a lot of times in a day to confirm that the patient is safe. The patient needs to stay in the hospital for 5-10 days.

What is Coumadin?

Coumadin, similar to heparin, interferes with the activity of particular plasma cellular proteins. Coumadin affects vitamin K, which governs the production of blood clotting cofactors. When vitamin K is unable to function effectively, it prevents the manufacturing of these cofactors from occurring in the first place.

Coumadin is available as an intravenous injection, a subcutaneous patch, or an oral tablet. Coumadin is frequently prescribed as a daily tablet by doctors. The results of the Prothrombin-Time test determine your dosage. Because that ratio is the conventional way to present test findings, this is also known as international normalized ratio (INR) testing.

It’s also used to treat clotting problems caused by atrial fibrillation and cardiac stents. It is usually given once a day by mouth, and patients’ INR levels are checked regularly to ensure that their Coumadin dose is correct.

The test measures the speed at which your blood clots. This test will be done every few weeks by your doctor, and if necessary, your dose will be adjusted. For keeping the record of medication and food, the doctor will have to examine the blood. Making sure that Coumadin usage is as per the requirement as an overdose could cause negative effects. The patient may need to take care of the intake of vitamin K for helping doctors in determining the appropriate dose for you.

Main Differences Between Heparin and Coumadin

  1. Heparin is an anticoagulant that works directly on the blood vessels. It’s a mixture of sulfated mucopolysaccharides with a high molecular weight whereas Coumadin is an anticoagulant that works indirectly. It’s a natural substance.
  2. Heparin prevents fibrin and thrombin from doing their jobs properly whereas Coumadin prevents vitamin K from doing its job properly.
  3. Heparin is more effective than Coumadin. When an immediate effect is required, it is advised whereas Coumadin takes longer to work than heparin. After 12 to 72 hours, the clinical effect appears.
  4. Heparin is taken through mostly injection. It is inactive and not absorbed after oral ingestion whereas Coumadin is taken as a tablet. Coumadin is promptly and completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration.
  5. Coumadin penetrates the breast milk and passes through the placental barrier, making it effective and safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. Heparin does not cross the placental barrier and is not excreted in breast milk, making it effective and safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. When this medication is taken during pregnancy, it causes a distinct dysmorphism in the body.

Conclusion

Individuals should avoid other drugs that ‘thin the blood’ since heparin and Coumadin both function by blocking clotting factors from operating properly. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (such as ibuprofen), aspirin, corticosteroids, and fish oil are examples. To avoid prolonged bleeding, doctors may recommend discontinuing an anticoagulant drug for a few days before any significant surgery or dental procedures.

Heparin works immediately to prevent clots, but it wears out quickly after medical personnel cease administering it. In the event of an emergency, an antidote can be used to reverse the effects. The patient may need to keep track of your vitamin K intake to assist the doctor in determining the appropriate dose of Coumadin for a patient.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ccd.10084
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.CIR.93.3.412
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