Oral Anticoagulants: Pharmacologic Management Update
The purpose of this article is to help nurses better promote optimal outcomes and minimal adverse effects for patients who are prescribed oral anticoagulants.
Millions of people in the United States take anticoagulants to prevent deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. The mainstays of anticoagulant therapy are heparin and warfarin. Both have disadvantages and limitations. For years warfarin was the only oral anticoagulant, but new medications are just as effective and have fewer disadvantages and limitations.
When you understand how anticoagulants work, you can ensure that patients achieve optimal outcomes and avoid complications. The purpose of this article is to help nurses better promote optimal outcomes and minimal adverse effects for patients who are prescribed oral anticoagulants.
Key Learning Outcomes
- Compare indications, dosages, pharmacokinetics, adverse effects, and contraindications of warfarin, direct thrombin inhibitors, and direct factor Xa inhibitors.
- Discuss nursing considerations related to oral anticoagulants
Nancy Haugen, PhD, RN
Nancy Haugen is associate dean, prelicensure and undergraduate programs, at the Samuel Merritt University School of Nursing in Oakland, California.