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This medication is used to keep IV catheters open and flowing freely. Heparin helps to keep blood flowing smoothly and from clotting in the catheter by making a certain natural substance in your body (anti-clotting protein) work better. It is known as an anticoagulant.
This form of heparin must not be used to treat or prevent blood clots in the body.
Some products should not be used for newborns due to an increased risk of side effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This medication is given by injection into the IV catheter as directed by your doctor. Do not inject this medication into the body.
Heparin comes in many strengths. Serious (sometimes fatal) injuries have occurred when the wrong strength was used. Check that you are using the correct strength and dose before injecting this medication.
Flush the catheter/line with normal saline before and after infusing drugs that interact with heparin such as doxorubicin, droperidol, ciprofloxacin, and mitoxantrone.
If you are using this medication at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Although very unlikely, this medication can cause bleeding if its effect on your clotting proteins is too much. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of serious bleeding, including unusual pain/swelling/discomfort, prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums, persistent nosebleeds, unusually heavy/prolonged menstrual periods, unusual/easy bruising, dark urine, black stools, severe headache, unusual dizziness.
Some patients can have certain bad reactions to heparin (heparin-induced thrombocytopenia-HIT or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis-HITT). This can occur during treatment and up to several weeks after treatment with heparin has stopped.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: pain/loss of feeling in the arms/legs, change in color of the arms/legs, chest pain, trouble breathing, confusion, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, vision changes.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before using heparin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to pork products; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as benzyl alcohol found in some brands), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication does not pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
See also How to Use section.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including prothrombin time), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: easy/unusual bruising, easy/unusual bleeding such as persistent nosebleeds, blood in urine, black stools.