The main difference between anticoagulant and antiplatelet is that an anticoagulant or a blood thinner is a medicine that delays the clotting of blood, whereas antiplatelet is another medicine that prevents the formation of a blood clot by preventing blood platelets from sticking together.
Anticoagulant and antiplatelet are the two classes of antithrombotic drugs used to treat thrombosis. Some examples of anticoagulant drugs are heparin, warfarin, dabigatran, apixaban, and rivaroxaban while the two types of antiplatelets are aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor used in dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT).
Key Areas Covered
1. What is an Anticoagulant
– Definition, Process, Importance
2. What is an Antiplatelet
– Definition, Process, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Anticoagulant and Antiplatelet
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Anticoagulant and Antiplatelet
– Comparison of Key Differences
Anticoagulant, Antiplatelet, Antithrombotic Drugs, Blood Clotting, Thrombosis
What is an Anticoagulant
Anticoagulant is a blood thinner that delays blood clotting. Generally, anticoagulants naturally occur in bloodsuckers such as mosquitoes and leeches. They help to avoid blood coagulation at the bite area during the blood meal. On the other hand, anticoagulants are important as medicine to treat thrombotic disorders. Also, different forms of anticoagulants can be taken orally or intravenously. Basically, the most common form of the anticoagulant drug is warfarin. Heparin is mainly given intravenously. In addition, anticoagulants are important in some medical equipment including blood transfusion bags, dialysis equipment, and test tubes
Furthermore, drugs with anticoagulants also increase the risk of bleeding. Also, this may become significant in people undergone recent surgery, cerebral aneurysms, etc. However, they play an important role in some disease conditions including atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, etc. Although there is a stasis in the heart, atrial fibrillation can cause thrombosis and sends a thrombus to the brain. Therefore, this condition has to be treated with anticoagulants.
What is an Antiplatelet
Antiplatelet is the second type of antithrombotic drugs – the first being anticoagulants. Other names for antiplatelet drugs include antiaggregant, platelet agglutination inhibitor or platelet aggregation inhibitor. The main characteristic feature which discriminates between anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs is that antiplatelets inhibit thrombus formation by preventing the aggregation of platelets. In contrast, anticoagulants prevent thrombus formation through the delaying fibrin formation. Therefore, both classes of antithrombotic drugs have their own applications.
Moreover, antiplatelets reduce the ability of blood clot formation by interfering with the platelet activation process in primary hemostasis. The inhibition can be either reversible or irreversible. However, it prevents the tendency of platelets to damage blood vessels’ endothelium. Additionally, antiplatelet therapy is widely used in the primary and secondary prevention of thrombotic cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease.
Similarities Between Anticoagulant and Antiplatelet
- Anticoagulant and antiplatelet are the two classes of antithrombotic drugs.
- They prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Therefore, they are important in treating thrombosis.
- Many heart attack and stroke patients take these medicines.
Difference Between Anticoagulant and Antiplatelet
Anticoagulant refers to an agent used to prevent the formation of blood clots, while antiplatelet refers to a platelet-blocking drug that reduces the tendency of platelets in the blood to clump or clot. Thus, this is the main difference between anticoagulant and antiplatelet.
Moreover, anticoagulants slow down clotting and reduce fibrin formation to prevent the formation and growth of clots, while antiplatelets prevent platelets from clumping to prevent the formation and growth of clots.
Conditions to Use
Anticoagulants are used for the conditions, which involve stasis, causing the formation of blood clots, while antiplatelets are used for the conditions, which involve endothelial damage and platelets sticking to the injured site.
Some examples of anticoagulant drugs are heparin, warfarin, dabigatran, apixaban, and rivaroxaban, while the two types of antiplatelets are aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor used in dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT).
Anticoagulant is a medicine which delays the formation of blood clots. It is mainly by the reduction of the formation of fibrin. Generally, heparin and warfarin are examples of anticoagulants. On the other hand, antiplatelet is another type of medicine, which prevents the formation of blood clots. It is mainly by preventing the platelet clumping. Significantly, the two main types of antiplatelets are aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor. Although both of them are antithrombotic drugs, the main difference between anticoagulant and antiplatelet is the mechanism of preventing the formation of blood clots.
1. “Antithrombotic Therapy.” American Society of Hematology, 8 Apr. 2019, Available Here.