1 What is Pradaxa?

Brand: Pradaxa

Generic: Dabigatran

Pradaxa, which is a direct thrombin inhibitor, is used to prevent stroke and systemic embolism.

It is also indicated pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) treatment, as well as prevention of DVT and PE recurrence.

This medication is also given to post-hip replacement surgery for DVT and PE prophylaxis. It works by preventing blood clots from forming through direct thrombin inhibition.

You can only purchase oral Pradaxa with a prescription from your physician. It is normally sold in capsule form.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Pradaxa, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. This is to make sure that dabigatran is right for you. You also need to think about other factors.

This medication should not be given to individuals who have had severe hypersensitivity reactions to dabigatran or any of its components.

Inform your physician if you have had such reactions. You should also tell your doctor if you have allergies to preservatives, food, animals, and other medications. It is not concretely known whether dabigatran is safe and effective in pediatric patients.

Studies have found that the effects of dabigatran in geriatric patients are not significantly affected by any age-related factors. However, it should still be used with caution and dosage must be adjusted to fit the patient’s individual needs.

Oral dabigatran has a pregnancy category of C, which means that not enough research has been done in pregnant women. Nursing mothers need to weigh the pros and cons of using dabigatran very carefully since it is not known whether this medication is excreted in breast milk.

Concomitant use of itraconazole is contraindicated. Your treating physician may not start you on dabigatran or change your other medicines.

The concomitant use of the following drugs is generally not recommended but can be necessary:

  • abciximab
  • aceclofenac
  • amiodarone
  • apixaban
  • carbamazepine
  • clarithromycin
  • clonixin
  • cyclosporine
  • darunavir
  • desirudin
  • diclofenac
  • droxicam
  • eptifibatide
  • felbinac
  • fenofibric acid
  • feprazone
  • fluoxetine
  • ibuprofen lysine
  • ketoprofen
  • ketorolac
  • lornoxicam
  • meclofenamate
  • nabumetone
  • niflumic acid
  • oxaprozin
  • pentosan polysulfate sodium
  • phenylbutazone
  • prasugrel
  • protein C
  • quinidine
  • rifampin
  • rofecoxib
  • sodium salicylate
  • streptokinase
  • telaprevir
  • tiaprofenic acid
  • tinzaparin
  • tocophersolan
  • treprostinil
  • verapamil
  • warfarin

Give your doctor a complete list of your medications. You should not take dabigatran if you have active bleeding or artificial mechanical heart valve.

This medication should be used with caution in patients with:

  • severe kidney disease
  • recent bleeding ulcers
  • history of bleeding problems

3 Proper Usage

To use Pradaxa properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. You should only take the prescribed dose of Pradaxa only within the duration of treatment.

Diverting from this can put you at risk of developing complications. You can also refer to the medication guide that comes with the packaging. You may take dabigatran with or without food but you should swallow the capsule whole.

If you are taking other blood thinners, follow your physician’s specific instructions on how to switch to dabigatran.

The dosage of this medicine depends on the indication and your body’s response. Adults with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who are given dabigatran to prevent stroke and blood clot formation may receive 75 to 150 mg, 2 times daily. Those getting the medication to prevent blood clot formation after hip replacement surgery should take 110 mg 1-4 hours post-op and then 220 mg once daily for the next 28-35 days.

Adults who are treated with dabigatran to prevent blood clot recurrence should take 150 mg twice daily. Use and dose of dabigatran in children should be determined by their pediatrician.

If you miss a dose and the next one is still more than 6 hours away, take it immediately. Otherwise, skip it and resume the normal schedule.

Do not remove the capsule from the bottle or blister package until you are ready to take it. Store this medication in a safe place away from children’s reach and at room temperature. You need to discard expired medicines.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Pradaxa, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. Your healthcare provider will need to monitor your condition closely to make sure the dabigatran is working properly and prevent side effects.

Pradaxa puts you at risk of bleeding. That’s why you should avoid contact sports or activities that can lead to injuries and trauma. You need to inform other doctors like your surgeon or dentist that you are currently on dabigatran treatment.

If you notice the following symptoms, you should check with your physician right away:

It is important that you do not abruptly discontinue dabigatran. Doing so can lead to blood clot formation or a stroke.

Patients who will receive spinal or epidural anesthesia or any other medication are at risk of developing blood clots in the spine.

After the procedure, report to your doctor if you have:

  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • midline back pain
  • numbness/tingling sensation of lower limbs

Also, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

Consult your physician first before taking any OTC drugs.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Pradaxa to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

The most common side effects that may need medical attention include:

  • sour stomach
  • belching
  • black/tarry stools
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • pain in the throat
  • stomach discomfort
  • vomiting of coffee-ground material

Rare side effects include:

  • the difficulty with swallowing
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • loss of consciousness
  • trouble/irregular breathing
  • facial swelling (including the eyelids, lips, or tongue)
  • skin redness/rash
  • chest tightness
  • unusual tiredness/weakness

If you experience other unusual side effects, check with your healthcare provider right away.

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