I know that with a cut sticky blood cells called platelets are used to prevent an extended amount of blood loss from the wound.

How do blood thinners prevent this?

  • As Pobrecita stated in their answer there are several types of medicines which can inhibit coagulation or break down a thrombus and they have different mechanisms of action. For a more targeted answer it would help a lot if we knew which medicine/medicine group we were talking about. Thanks!
    – Lucky
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 17:33
  • In general, people taking anticoagulants don't die from small cuts. It's bleedings in the skull and abdomen we're mostly worried about, but even that risk can be acceptable depending on the risk of thrombosis (i.e. the indication)
    – Jasper
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


There are 2 types of blood thinners anticoagulants and antiplatelets. Simply:


Anticoagulants work by interrupting the process involved in the formation of blood clots. They're sometimes called "blood-thinning" medicines, although they don't actually make the blood thinner


Vitamin K is essential for those reactions. Warfarin (Coumadin) works by decreasing the activity of vitamin K; lengthening the time it takes for a clot to form.


Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together to form a clot.

A deeper understanding can be derived from looking up the individual medications: Clopidogrel (Antiplatelet) and Coumadin(Anticoagulant). I don't know which type your refering to, but they:

Anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs work by stopping platelets from adhering to one another and clotting proteins from binding together.

  • Blood thinners can cause thrombocytopenia (low platelets). However, the platelets have to be severely low beneath 100,000 to cause spontaneous and uncontrollable bleeding that may cause death usually.

Many medications can cause low platelet count by causing immunologic reaction against platelets, called drug-induced thrombocytopenia.

So basically on this stuff it takes you longer to clot and therefore increased the time you bleed.


As far as I know, the only blood thinner that is known for its potential to reduce platelet count is Heparine. See e.g. Wikipedia, HIT - heparin induced thrombocytopenia, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heparin-induced_thrombocytopenia

"If someone receiving heparin develops new or worsening thrombosis, or if the platelet count falls, HIT can be confirmed with specific blood tests."

Some other link on "HIT": https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.106.632653

For a popular blood thinner that seems to be based on heparin see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoxaparin_sodium

For several other substances of the same category see e.g. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.106.632653

The question says: "creation" of platelets. There is not known any "blood thinner" that prevents the creation of platelets. Typically, Vitamin K which is blocked by certain blood thinners, is needed for the creation of factors of the coagulation cascade. Thus, blood thinners interfering with vitamine K do not prevent the "creation" of platelets/thrombocytes (which medication blocking cell division does, cp. cancer medication), but the creation of coagulation factors.

Creation of platelets is different from "creation of blood clots" and its prevention. The question is not coherent in respect of its explanatory text. The answer to the question reformulated in the explanatory note "...platelets are used to prevent ... blood loss from the wound, so how do Blood Thinners prevent this?":

They inhibit the aggregation of platelets by interfering with the thrombocyte's signaling hormone thromboxane.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thromboxane#Inhibitors "The widely used drug aspirin acts by inhibiting the ability of the COX enzyme to synthesize the precursors of thromboxane within platelets." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thromboxane#Inhibitors

There are blood thinners that do not directly act on platelets but on the coagulation cascade.The question does not seem to refer to these. What's more, they do not lead to low platelet count and do not interfere with cell devision i.e. creation of platelets. However, for some dispute on Thrombocytopenia in the context of novel blood thinners see e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3219062


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