Blood thinners are medications that don’t actually thin the blood, but they keep blood clots from getting worse. When it come to patients who have had life-threatening events, such as heart attacks, strokes, or pulmonary embolisms, many patients will be placed on blood thinners. In addition to preventing clots from growing, they also prevent new clots from forming. The top blood thinner medications patients may be placed on include Warfarin, Apixaban, Dabigatran, Edoxaban, and Rivaroxaban. Each blood thinner is different, and some may work better for different patients. Read on to learn more about the top blood thinners recommended by doctors today.

Top 5 Blood Thinners:

  • Warfarin
  • Apixaban
  • Dabigatran
  • Edoxaban
  • Rivaroxaban

Warfarin (Coumadin)

This is, by far, the oldest blood thinner medication on the market. This is a cheap medicine that has been used for decades to treat patients with blood clotting problems. This medication works by blocking the development of clotting factors that are developed in the liver. Without these clotting factors, the blood will thin out and clot less frequently. The side effects occur when people accidentally cut themselves. Even a minor cut can come with significant bleeding. Furthermore, patients require regular blood monitoring to ensure the clotting isn’t too minimal to be dangerous. This is a headache for many people. The bright side is that an overdose can be corrected quickly with a shot of vitamin K or a blood infusion of plasma products. This product is tested and used commonly but also comes with unpleasant monitoring requirements for patient safety.


  • This is an old medicine that still works well.
  • An overdose is reversed quickly with vitamin K.
  • Monitoring requires regular blood draws that bother some people.

Apixaban (Eliquis)

This is a newer medicine that is also used to prevent blood clots. It is commonly prescribed for atrial fibrillation and post-surgical settings. It has been in use across the world since 2012. This medication directly binds to clotting factor X to halt the formation of blood clots. People use this medicine to prevent strokes, pulmonary embolisms, and strokes. Side effects are similar to other blood thinners in that it can cause serious bleeding if the patient sustains a cut. This medicine can also interact with other blood-related drugs to cause dangerous side effects. Patients may like this medicine because it works more directly on the blood clotting process and does not require as much monitoring.


  • This is a new medicine used to prevent blood clots.
  • It acts directly on the clotting factors themselves instead of on the liver.
  • It can cause serious bleeding if it interacts with other medications.

Dabigatran (Pradaxa)

This is also a newer medication that acts directly on the clotting cascade. This medicine targets Thrombin directly and inhibits its function. This is the last step in the formation of blood clots. Patients like this medication because it does not require the stringent monitoring that Warfarin does. Unfortunately, there also wasn’t a way to reverse an overdose of this medication until last year. This reversal medicine still needs to be distributed more widely for effective use. This medication acts directly to inhibit Thrombin.


  • It does not require as frequent monitoring.
  • It did not have a reversal medication until recently.

Edoxaban (Savaysa)

Similar to Apixaban, this medication acts directly on Factor X to inhibit the clotting cascade. This prevents the generation of Thrombin and other clotting products. It is also used to prevent blood clots. This medication should not be used in people with kidney failure or in patients with active bleeding, due to predictable bleeding side effects with the use of any blood thinner. While it doest not require the same monitoring as Warfarin, the risk of having an ischemic stroke is greater than Warfarin.


  • It acts directly to inhibit Factor X.
  • It does not require as strict monitoring as Warfarin.
  • It has a higher risk of ischemic stroke than Warfarin.

Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

This is another direct blood clot inhibitor that prevents Factor X’s binding to Thrombin during one of the latter stages in blood clot formation. It tends to act a little quicker than the similar medications and is absorbed from the GI tract. It also has fewer fatal bleeding accidents compared to Warfarin. it is effective at preventing blood clots. This prevents Factor X from binding to Thrombin.


  • It does not have as many side effects as Warfarin.
  • There also is no antidote if an overdose occurs.


Blood thinners can save lives. These medications are constantly being evaluated, and different patients may respond more favorably to different clot-preventing drugs. Only your doctor can determine which blood thinner might be best for your needs. Talk to your doctor and do your research to learn more.