What kinds of treatment, including medications, did you receive for your phlebitis?
Share your story with others:
MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.
How is phlebitis treated?
Treatment of phlebitis may depend on the location, extent, symptoms, and
underlying medical conditions.
In general, superficial phlebitis of the upper and lower
extremities can be treated by applying warm compresses, elevation of the
involved extremity, encouraging ambulation (walking), and oral anti-inflammatory
(Motrin, Advil), diclofenac
(Voltaren, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR), etc.]. Topical
anti-inflammatory medications may also be beneficial, such as diclofenac gel.
External compression with fitted
stockings is also a recommended for patients with superficial phlebitis of the
If an intravenous catheter is the cause, then it should be removed. If the
phlebitis is infected, then antibiotics are used. In severe cases of infected
thrombophlebitis, surgical exploration may be necessary.
Superficial thrombophlebitis (blood clots) is evaluated
by an ultrasound to exclude deep venous thrombophlebitis, especially those
involving the saphenous vein. If deep venous thrombophlebitis is suspected or
diagnosed, or if its risk of developing is considerable, then anti-coagulation
(thinning of blood) may be necessary. This is typically done by injection of low
molecular weight heparin [enoxaparin
(Lovenox)], or by injection of fonduparinux (Arixtra). It can be done by
treatment with therapeutic dosages of unfractionated heparin (usually in the
form of an intravenous drip), followed by oral anti-coagulation with warfarin
(Coumadin) for about 3 to 6 months. Newer anticoagulants may replace coumadin in
Patients with extensive deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may be appropriately
treated with catheter-directed thrombolysis in selected cases, but will still
require maintenance anticoagulation for 3 to 6 months.
Selected patients with DVT may require placement of inferior vena cava
filters to help prevent pulmonary embolus. In a subset of patients, it may be
appropriate to remove the filter at a future date.
Recovery of symptoms from superficial phlebitis can last a few weeks. A
thrombophlebitis may take weeks to months to recover.