What is enoxaparin?
It is a drug that is used to treat and prevent blood clots. This is also known as an anticoagulant. It is sometimes called a blood thinner. Blood thinners do not actually “thin” your blood. They make it less likely to clot.
Normally your blood will clot after an injury. However, some people can form blood clots without being injured. This can be very serious. You have been prescribed enoxaparin to help stop your body from making harmful blood clots.
Blood clots are dangerous because they can stop blood and oxygen from getting to the rest of your body. Sometimes this can cause death. Blood clots can form in your arteries, veins, or heart. They can break off and travel through your blood. This may cause a heart attack or stroke when they get stuck in blood vessels of the heart or brain. They can also go to the lungs.
Enoxaparin is used for many reasons. The length of treatment is different for each person. You must take it as prescribed by your provider.
This medicine may also be prescribed for uses that are not listed below.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE):
DVTs are blood clots that form in the deep veins of the legs or arms. Part of the clot may break off and go to the lung, causing a PE.
DVTs are more likely to happen after some types of surgery or if you are not moving as much as normal due to an illness
Bridging therapy for procedures
You may need to stop some medicines you take to prevent blood clots or strokes before some procedures or surgeries. Enoxaparin is short-acting. So, it may be used during these times to prevent blood clots. This is called bridging.
It works by blocking the body’s natural clotting factors. This makes your blood less likely to form dangerous clots. It keeps clots you do have from getting bigger. It does not break up clots.
It comes as a generic or brand name (Lovenox®) pre-filled syringe. It is injected subcutaneously (under the skin). Your provider will decide the strength you need and how often you give it.
Important things to know are:
- Take it as prescribed by your provider.
- If you miss a dose, take the dose as soon as you can on the same day.
- If you do not remember until close to the time for your next dose, do not take the dose you missed. Instead, keep with your normal time.
- Unless told to do so, do not take 2 injections of enoxaparin at the same time.
- Do not take extra injections to make up for a missed dose.
- Tell your provider if you forgot to take a scheduled injection of enoxaparin.
Step 1: Wash and dry your hands well.
Step 2: Sit or lie in a comfortable position, so that you can see your abdomen. Choose an area on the right or left side of your abdomen, at least 2 inches from your belly button. Do not give the injection in a place that is bruised or hard.
Talk with your provider about using other sites too.
Step 3: Clean the site with an alcohol swab. Let it dry.
Step 4: Remove the needle cap by pulling it straight off the syringe. Throw it in the sharps container.
Step 5: Hold the syringe like a pencil in your writing hand. Do not squirt out the bubble you see in the syringe.
Step 6: With your other hand, pinch an inch of the clean skin to make a fold in the skin. Put the full length of the needle straight down, at a 90-degree angle, into the fold of skin.
Step 7: Press the plunger with your thumb until the syringe is empty.
Step 8: Pull the needle straight out at the same angle it was put in. Let go of the skin fold.
Step 9: Point the needle down and away from you and others. Push down on the plunger to activate the safety shield.
Step 10: Place the used syringe in the sharps container.
Talk with your provider about ways to properly get rid of used syringes if you do not have a sharps container.
The length of time you need to take enoxaparin will depend on the reason you take it. Some people will switch to another anticoagulant or blood thinner, which is taken by mouth. Your care team will give you a specific care plan.
Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your provider.
Unlike some anticoagulants, or blood thinners, most adults do not need blood testing while taking enoxaparin.
Some people, such as children and pregnant women, may need to have blood drawn to test a low molecular weight heparin level. The test is called an anti-factor Xa level. This must be drawn at specific times after the injection, often 4 to 6 hours after. Your provider will tell you when to have blood drawn.
You may also need your blood drawn for other reasons, depending on your health condition.
The most common side effects are:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Bleeding, which can happen at any site (gums, urine, eye, skin, and so on)
Tell your provider right away if you have a:
- Serious fall or you hit your head (You may need to be seen in an emergency room.)
- Black, sore, or scabbed injection site
- Fever and chills for more than 2 days
- Bad headache, dizziness, or weakness
- Skin rash, hives, or itching
- Skin reaction at the injection site
Call your provider right away if you have:
- Bleeding from cuts that does not stop
- Nosebleeds that do not stop
- Coughing up blood
- Vomit (throw-up) that looks like coffee grounds
- Bruising for unknown reasons
- Heavy periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding
- Bowel movements (poop) that look black or have blood in them
- Rust-colored or dark brown urine (pee)
- Bleeding in the eye
You are taking enoxaparin to help protect you from having a blood clot or prevent you from getting another one.
Call your provider if you have:
- Painful and constant swelling or redness in your feet, lower legs, or arms
- Bad headache
- Blurred vision
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Feelings of severe weakness
- Numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face
- Not being able to move
- Sudden confusion
Bring a list of all the medicines you take to each visit. Your care team will check them for drug interactions.
Check with your provider before starting, changing, or stopping any medicines.
Below is a list of some medicines you should not take unless told by your provider. The lists do not include everything that might interact with enoxaparin. Check with your pharmacist if there are any changes to your medicines while taking enoxaparin.
Common medicines that can cause more bleeding if you are on enoxaparin:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®)
Some common herbs that can affect enoxaparin:
- Ginkgo biloba