Molecule of the Week

Heparin

June 9, 2008

Heparin, the most widely used injectable blood anticoagulant, has been in the news recently because contaminated samples of raw heparin stock from China were discovered. It is one of the oldest drugs in widespread use; it was discovered in 1916 and was in medical use by the 1930s. Chemically, it is a highly sulfated polysaccharide in which the most common unit is the triply sulfated disaccharide l-iduronic acid–d-glucosamine.