WHAT ARE BLOOD-THINNERS?
Blood-thinning medications or anticoagulants are powerful tools to prevent complications of life-threatening blood clots and have proven benefits in preventing heart attacks and strokes. They are prescribed to prevent these blood clots from forming in people who are at risk. The benefits of these drugs must always be weighed against the risks of bleeding, particularly in patients undergoing elective surgical procedures. One of the side-effects of anticoagulants is an increase in bleeding.
Patients who take blood thinners can present challenges when surgery is needed. Common blood thinners include: Aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), Aggrenox, Pradaxa (dabigatran), Coumadin (warfarin), Xarelto (rivaroxaban), and Eliquis (apixaban). There are other medications that can also act as blood thinners such as ibuprofen and vitamin E. The list below is not intended to be all inclusive. Please review your medications with your primary care doctor, especially if you have questions about which medicines may be blood thinners.
CHALLENGES WITH BLOOD THINNERS IN SURGERY
Bleeding is a potential complication of any surgical procedure. People who take blood-thinning medicine around the time of their procedure are more likely to have bleeding complications during and after surgery. For operations in and around the eye, this bleeding may, in rare cases, cause loss of vision or blindness.
If you stop taking your blood-thinner(s) before surgery to lessen the chance of bleeding, you may be at greater risk of developing a life-threatening blood clot, which can cause very serious conditions such as heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis. If, on the other hand, you continue your anticoagulants you may be at increased risk of bleeding complications. If you are on blood-thinners and need to have surgery, you must be willing to accept the potential for increased risk of one of these complications—blood clot or bleeding.
Your surgeon and your primary doctor/cardiologist will weigh the relative risks and benefits of stopping or continuing your medications before surgery and counsel you accordingly. On rare occasion, this may mean that elective surgery will be postponed or cancelled. There is always a chance that you may develop a complication related to how your blood thinners are managed around the time of your surgery. Your doctors will help you understand the relative risks involved so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
In summary, a patient on blood-thinners who stops these medicines before surgery may have increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening blood clot. A patient who continues using blood-thinners may have increased risk of bleeding complications that in rare cases may result in vision loss or blindness. It is very important to discuss your blood thinner medication with your eye surgeon and your prescribing doctor. If you note ANY abnormal symptoms after stopping your blood thinner, please call your prescribing doctor or go to the nearest emergency department as soon as possible.
MEDICATIONS AND SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE BLOOD THINNERS
If you have a clotting disorder, heart disease, or history of stroke please talk to your primary care doctor or the prescribing doctor before stopping any medications. If you are unsure, please contact your prescribing physician or primary care doctor for instructions on handling your blood thinner medications around the time of eye surgery.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS LIST OF BLOOD THINNERS:
Advil, Alka-selzer, Anacin, APC, Ascodeen-30, Aspirin, baby Aspirin, BC powders, Bextra, Buff-a-comp, Buffadyne, Bufferin, Butalbia, Cama-Inlay, Celebrex, Ceracol, Clinoril, Congespirin, Cope, Coricidin, Dolobid, Darvon, Dristan, Duragesic, Ecotrin, Empirin, Equagesic, Excedrin, Feldene, Fionrinal, Gingko biloba, Indocin, Measurin, Meciomen, Midol, Monacet and Codeine, Motrin, Nalfon, Norgesic, Nuprin, Omega3 Fish oil, Omega-6 oil (hydroeye), Orudis, Percodan, Pabirin, Persantine, Persistine, Ponstel, Robaxisal, Sine off, SK-65, St. Johns Wart, Stendin, Stero-Darvon, Supac, Synalgos D.C., Tolectin, Triaminicin, Vitamin E, Voltaren, Zomac.
Please STOP taking any of these medications or supplements 10 days prior to your eye surgery, unless they are prescribed by your physician. If they are prescribed by your physician, then please contact the prescribing doctor to discuss further.
If you need something for pain or headaches or menstrual cramps or other aches or pains please take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please call Tailored Eyes at 941-499-1570.