Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Blockbuster DrugsThe Rise and Fall of the Pharmaceutical Industry$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jie Jack Li

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199737680.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 October 2021

Blood Thinners: From Heparin to Plavix

Blood Thinners: From Heparin to Plavix

(p.87) 5 Blood Thinners: From Heparin to Plavix
Blockbuster Drugs

Jie Jack Li

Oxford University Press

Three types of blood cells exist in the human body: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, in addition to plasma, which takes up 55 percent of the blood’s volume. Red blood cells take up approximately 45 percent of the blood’s volume. They transport oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. White cells defend us against bacterial and viral invasions. Platelets (less than 1 percent of the blood), the third type of blood cells, are sticky little cell fragments that are involved in helping the blood clot, a process known as coagulation. Without platelets (even though they constitute less than 1 percent of blood), our blood would not be able to clot, and we would have uncontrolled bleeding. However, formation of blood clots is a double-edged sword. Clots are beneficial because they heal cuts and wounds; blood clots in the bloodstream are harmful because they block coronary arteries, constrict vital oxygen supplies, and cause heart attacks and strokes, more and more frequent modern maladies as the baby boomers get older. Whenever the body is cut or injured and blood comes into contact with cells outside the bloodstream, a tissue factor on these cells encounters a particular protein within the blood, which triggers the clotting process. In the same vein, a series of other blood factors then come into action and amplify one another to quickly form a jelly-like blood clot. Blood clots form when an enzyme called thrombin marshals fibrin (a blood protein) and platelets (tiny cells that circulate in the blood) to coagulate at the site of an injury. Individuals with no ability to clot have a genetic condition called hemophilia; such people are also known as “bleeders.” Queen Victoria was hemophilic, and she passed on her genes to her many heirs who ruled Europe for over a century. This is why hemophilia is sometimes known as the royal disease. Symptoms of hemophilia manifest only in male offspring. People with hemophilia must periodically administer a clotting factor to their blood to prevent constant bleeding.

Keywords:   Amidine, BAY, Cardiovascular diseases, Deferiprone, Elinogrel, Fibrin, Generic drugs, Heart attacks, Idraparinux, Jean Choay

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .