Patients with a DVT may need to be treated in the hospital. Others may be able to have outpatient treatment.
Treatments include medications, compression stockings and elevating the affected leg. If the blood clot is extensive, you may need more invasive testing and treatment. The main goals of treatment are to:
- Stop the clot from getting bigger
- Prevent the clot from breaking off in your vein and moving to your lungs
- Reduce the risk of another blood clot
- Prevent long-term complications from the blood clot (chronic venous insufficiency).
Important Information About Medications
- Take your medications exactly as your doctor tells you to.
- Have blood tests as directed by your doctor and keep all scheduled laboratory appointments.
- Do not stop or start taking any medication (including nonprescription/over-the-counter medications and supplements) without asking your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about your diet. You may need to make changes, depending on the medication you take.
Treatment for a DVT can include:
Anticoagulants (“blood thinners”). This type of medication makes it harder for your blood to clot. Anticoagulants also stop clots from getting bigger and prevent blood clots from moving. Anticoagulants do not destroy clots. Your body may naturally dissolve a clot, but sometimes clots do not completely disappear.
There are different types of anticoagulants. Your doctor will talk to you about the best type of medication for you.
If you need to take an anticoagulant, you may only need to take it for 3 to 6 months. But, your treatment time may be different if:
- You have had clots before, your treatment time may be longer.
- You are being treated for another illness (such as cancer), you may need to take an anticoagulant as long as your risk of a clot is higher.
The most common side effect of anticoagulants is bleeding. You should call your doctor right away if you notice that you bruise or bleed easily while taking this medication.