Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Why three blood thinners at once?

Q. I am currently on Coumadin because I had atrial fibrillation after my bypass, Plavix because of my stent, and a baby aspirin. Why do I need to take three blood thinners?

A. I'd say that pretty much anyone who is taking all three "blood thinners" — warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin — is getting state-of-the-art care.

Why three blood thinners? Because they act in different ways for different purposes. Warfarin prevents blood clots that might form along the walls of the upper chambers of your heart (the atria). Because you have atrial fibrillation, those walls don't contract normally, so the blood flow through the atria tends to slow down, and that makes blood clots more likely to form. If clots break off and travel to other parts of the body, they can cause strokes and other cardiovascular problems.

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