Heparin injection

Heparin injection treats or prevents clots in your veins, arteries, lungs or heart. Blood clots are collections of blood that form when blood changes from liquid to partially solid. A healthcare provider will usually give you this medication via infusion into your vein or by injection in a hospital or clinic setting.

What is this medication?

HEPARIN (HEP a rin) is an anticoagulant. It is used to treat or prevent clots in the veins, arteries, lungs, or heart. It stops clots from forming or getting bigger. This medicine prevents clotting during open-heart surgery, dialysis, or in patients who are confined to bed.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Hep-Lock, Hep-Lock U/P, Hepflush-10, Monoject Prefill Advanced Heparin Lock Flush, SASH Normal Saline and Heparin

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia or low blood platelets
  • bowel disease or diverticulitis
  • endocarditis
  • high blood pressure
  • liver disease
  • recent surgery or delivery of a baby
  • stomach ulcers
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to heparin, benzyl alcohol, sulfites, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medicine is given by injection or infusion into a vein. It can also be given by injection of small amounts under the skin. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

If you get this medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice. Stopping this medicine may increase your risk of a blot clot. Be sure to refill your prescription before you run out of medicine.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this medicine may be prescribed for children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • aspirin and aspirin-like drugs
  • mifepristone
  • medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin, enoxaparin, and dalteparin
  • palifermin
  • protamine

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • dextran
  • digoxin
  • hydroxychloroquine
  • medicines for treating colds or allergies
  • nicotine
  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • phenylbutazone
  • tetracycline antibiotics

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your healthcare professional for regular checks on your progress. You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine. Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. It is important not to miss any appointments.

Wear a medical ID bracelet or chain, and carry a card that describes your disease and details of your medicine and dosage times.

Notify your doctor or healthcare professional at once if you have cold, blue hands or feet.

If you are going to need surgery or other procedure, tell your healthcare professional that you are using this medicine.

Avoid sports and activities that might cause injury while you are using this medicine. Severe falls or injuries can cause unseen bleeding. Be careful when using sharp tools or knives. Consider using an electric razor. Take special care brushing or flossing your teeth. Report any injuries, bruising, or red spots on the skin to your healthcare professional.

Using this medicine for a long time may weaken your bones and increase the risk of bone fractures.

You should make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D while you are taking this medicine. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your healthcare professional.

Wear a medical ID bracelet or chain. Carry a card that describes your disease and details of your medicine and dosage times.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • bone pain
  • fever, chills
  • nausea, vomiting
  • signs and symptoms of bleeding such as bloody or black, tarry stools; red or dark-brown urine; spitting up blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds; red spots on the skin; unusual bruising or bleeding from the eye, gums, or nose
  • signs and symptoms of a blood clot such as chest pain; shortness of breath; pain, swelling, or warmth in the leg
  • signs and symptoms of a stroke such as changes in vision; confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; severe headaches; sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; trouble walking; dizziness; loss of coordination

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • hair loss
  • pain, redness, or irritation at site where injected

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store unopened vials at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Do not freeze. Do not use if solution is discolored or particulate matter is present. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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