The treatment for thrombophilia depends on the type of thrombophilia and the risk of forming blood clots. The objective of the treatment is to alleviate symptoms and prevent further blood clots from developing.
There are two possible types of medications for treating thrombophilia: anticoagulants and antiplatelets.
Anticoagulants help to stop blood clots from forming by altering chemicals in the blood, leading to a slower blood-clotting process. It is commonly used to treat a clot (such as a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism), or to prevent a clot from developing.
Anticoagulants are administered by injection, or orally, in tablet form. Two commonly used anticoagulants are warfarin and heparin. Heparin is usually given intravenously in the arm, and works instantly on an existing blood clot.
Warfarin is usually given in tablet form, and it takes a few days for the medication to work properly, but it is more useful for long term, preventative use. Determining the accurate warfarin dose can take several weeks as many factors, including weight, health, diet and genetics, affect the warfarin activity. If the dose for warfarin is too high, it can cause bleeding problems, and if it is too low, it will ineffective at preventing further blood clotting. A regular blood analysis to determine the efficiency of warfarin is required to ensure that the International Normalized Ratio (INR) is between 2 and 3.
Antiplatelets inhibit the action of platelets, and decrease their ability in forming blood clots. It may help in preventing miscarriage and pregnancy problems. Antiplatelets are usually given in tablet form, and the most commonly used antiplatelet is aspirin.
The treatment for thrombophilia during pregnancy can be different, as medications may be unsafe for the unborn baby. In some situations a low-dose aspirin is recommended during pregnancy to prevent a miscarriage and other problems. Warfarin may cause fetal abnormalities if taken during pregnancy, so a switch to heparin is recommended.
Both warfarin and heparin are safe medications to use during the breast-feeding stage.