Generic: Heparin sodium
Manufacturer: Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Date approved: 1972
Approved uses: Anticoagulant
Off-Label uses: N/A
• Possible allergic reaction
• Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT) and Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis (HITT)
• possible hemorrhage
Heparin (also known as heparin sodium) is a blood thinner administered in surgery and other critical care situations to prevent clots. It is crucial in dialysis and heart surgery, and is used for the bedridden. Heparin acts as an anticoagulant (blood thinner) by preventing the formation of clots and extension of existing clots within the blood. While heparin does not break down clots that have already formed, it allows the body’s natural clot mechanisms to work normally to break down clots that have already formed.
Heparin, which has been manufactured since 1930, is administered to millions of patients yearly. Heparin can cause some side effects, including most seriously heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT syndrome). HITS is caused by an immunological reaction that makes platelets collect within the blood vessels, thereby using up coagulation factors. Formation of clots can lead to thrombosis, while the loss of coagulation factors and platelets may result in bleeding. HITS can (rarely) occur shortly after heparin is given, but also when a person has been on heparin for a long while.
Most recently, Baxter Healthcare Corporation (who made almost half in the herparin used in the U.S.) was forced to halt sales of its multiple-dose injectable heparin. The FDA reported that, since the end of 2007, it received about 350 reports of health problems associated with Baxter heparin, with 40 percent deemed serious. Allergic reactions included difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and rapidly falling blood pressure, which in some cases led to life-threatening shock and, in four cases, death. It has been determined that the potentially toxic Baxter heparin was produced in a Chinese factory that was never properly inspected by the FDA.
News Outlet Reports of Typical Heart Drugs Disrupting Blood Thinners
A study released in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently found that calcium channel blocker drugs that are often given as a method of treatment for heart conditions, may reduce the effects of blood thinning drugs such as Plavix and other similar blood thinners.
What is a Blood Thinner?
The Texas Heart Institute explains that a blood thinner is a prescription drug that is used to decrease the following:
• heart attack
• blockages in arteries
• clumps of blood (blood clots) that are forming, growing
Blood thinners are described as anticoagulants, which, despite that they are called blood thinners, actually do not thin the blood, but rather “decrease the blood�s ability to clot and decreased clotting keeps fewer harmful blood clots from forming and from blocking blood vessels,” according to the Texas Heart Institute�s Heart Information Center.
Candidates for blood thinners are usually individuals who have had the following conditions:
• heart valve replacement
• atrial fibrillation
• congestive heart failure
There is a lengthy list of potential harmful interactions that can threaten an individual�s health while taking blood thinners. The following are a list of medications that should be discussed prior to consuming a blood thinner or prior to beginning a blood thinner prescription.
• sleeping pills
• calcium and vitamin K supplements
• certain antifungal medicines
• overactive thyroid medicines
• convulsion medicines
• certain antibiotics
While calcium and additional vitamin K supplements have been know to interact mildly with blood thinners, according to the study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the combination can be deadly inactivating the “enzyme essential for the activity” of a blood thinner. During the study, Plavix, a type of blood thinner, was used during testing, but there are an array of blood thinners available on the market today, some of which include the following, according to WebMD:
Of these types of blood thinners, is the rather controversial Heparin, also known as heparin sodium, which was released in 1972 from Baxter Healthcare Corporation. In 2007 the drug had reportedly caused severe health and allergic reactions among hundreds of patients across the United States. It was later discovered that a tainted batch of Heparin had been shipped to the United States by a Chinese manufacturing company, which became the center of an international investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the injectable drug was being used in thousands of surgical procedures, including dialysis and heart surgery, patients were becoming sick with the following reactions:
• excessive sweating
• rapidly falling blood pressure
• difficulty breathing