Pulmonary embolisms are most commonly treated with drugs known as anticoagulants, which can be taken orally (in pill form) or by injection. Anticoagulants are also called “blood thinners.”
Other treatments are used more rarely and only after discussion with your healthcare professional:
When choosing the type and duration of treatment, a discussion with your healthcare professional can help you understand the choices available.
The choice of treatment depends on your general state of health and will be adjusted if:
The duration of the treatment depends on the cause of the problem and can range from a few months to several years.
Several types of anticoagulants are available for the treatment of DVT and PE. Your doctor will discuss the different options with you and help you choose the most appropriate treatment for your situation. The different treatment options are presented below.
Anticoagulant treatment is usually well-tolerated, with very few side effects. When the treatment is done by injection, it can be uncomfortable and cause bruising at the injection site. These reactions are often minor and without adverse effect.
Since the purpose of the treatment is to thin the blood, the main risk of anticoagulants is bleeding. If you are taking an anticoagulant and you are injured (a cut or fall) or during menstruation in women, the bleeding may be slightly heavier. In almost all cases, the bleeding is light and stops on its own, without further treatment.
If you are concerned about the risks associated with anticoagulant treatment, it is important to discuss your concerns with your healthcare professional.
If you are taking an anticoagulant and you have bleeding, it is important to discuss it with a healthcare professional.
If you see black or red blood in your stool, vomit, urine or sputum, seek medical advice immediately.
The main advantage of anticoagulant treatment is that it prevents blood clots that have already formed from growing in size. It also:
The first step is to talk to healthcare professionals and to seek out information, like you’re doing now by accessing this portal.
In most cases, treatment with an anticoagulant offers more benefits (improvement of symptoms and prevention of blood clot growth and the formation of new clots) than risks (bleeding).
When choosing a treatment, your physician will take into account your health and your preferences.
Compression stockings are not a treatment for PE and DVT. They can be used to improve symptoms related to leg swelling following deep vein thrombosis and to prevent long-term complications.