An agent that prevents or retards the clotting of blood; SYN. decoagulant.
Substance that inhibits the formation of blood clots. Common anticoagulants are heparin, produced by the liver and some white blood cells, and derivatives of coumarin. Anticoagulants are used medically in the prevention and treatment of thrombosis and heart attacks. Anticoagulant substances are also produced by blood-feeding animals, such as mosquitoes, leeches, and vampire bats, to keep the victim's blood flowing.
Pharmaceutical company Rhône-Poulenc patented 1995 the anticoagulant drug Draculin, based on a protein isolated from the saliva of vampire bats.
Most anticoagulants prevent the production of thrombin, an enzyme that induces the formation from blood plasma of fibrinogen, to which blood platelets adhere and form clots.
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