Unfractionated heparin

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  • Type: Anticoagulant
  • Dosage Forms: IV, SC
  • Common Trade Names: Heparin

Adult Dosing


  • Bolus: 80 units/kg IV x 1 (MAX: 5,000 units)
  • Then drip: 18 units/kg/h IV (MAX: 1,000 units/h)
  • Adjust dose to target aPTT levels based on nomogram

Pediatric Dosing

  • IV infusion
    • Initial loading dose 75 units/kg given over 10 minutes
    • Initial maintenance dose 20 units/kg/hour and adjest per local policy

Special Populations


Risk Factors for Major Bleeding Complication

  • Recent surgery or trauma
  • Renal failure
  • Alcoholism
  • Malignancy
  • Liver failure
  • Concurrent use of warfarin, fibrinolytics, steroids, or antiplatelet drugs


  • Half-life: 1.5 hrs
  • Metabolism: Hepatic
  • Excretion: Urine
  • Mechanism of Action:
    • Binds to and activates antithrombin which in turns inactivates factor Xa and thrombin
  • Anticoagulation effect lasts up to 3hr after stopping infusion
  • Must give IV (not subq) for acute thromboembolic disease
    • Unpredictable anticoagulation effect
    • Must monitor with PTT; therapeutic range is 1.5-2.5x normal value

See Also