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New research finds higher doses of blood thinners help some COVID-19 patients

Multiple large international studies found that moderately ill COVID-19 patients saw significant benefit when receiving higher than usual doses of blood thinners.

New research has found that full doses of blood thinners such as heparin can help moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients avoid the need for breathing machines or other organ support.

The preliminary results came from three large, international studies testing various coronavirus treatments, and haven’t been published yet. The U.S. National Institutes of Health and other sponsors released the results Friday to help doctors decide on appropriate care.

Nearly all hospitalized COVID-19 patients currently receive low doses of a blood thinner to try to prevent clots from forming.

The new results show that “when we give higher doses of blood thinners to patients who are not already critically ill, there is a significant benefit in preventing them from getting sicker,” said Dr. Matthew Neal, a trauma surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and one study leader.

Researchers said these drugs don’t help, and may even harm, people who are more seriously ill.

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