In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for dabigatran, trade name PradaxaTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Dabigatran works by blocking an important step in the body’s ability to form a clot. Dabigatran is an anticoagulant medication.

Dabigatran may be used for the following reasons:

  1. Reduce the risk of stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots in patients with an abnormal heart rhythm not associated with a heart valve.
  2. Treat a blood clot in a deep vein or in your lungs after 5-10 days of injectable medication.
  3. Prevent a clot from forming again.
  4. Prevent a blood clot from forming following hip replacement surgery.

Dabigatran is an oral capsule that is usually taken twice daily, with or without food. The dose that your doctor prescribes for you will depend on the condition that you are treating and how well your kidneys work. If you have any questions about the dose you are to be taking, call your pharmacist or doctor. Do not crush, chew or open the capsule. Breaking the capsule will change how the medication works in your body.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

Dabigatran is very sensitive to moisture. Do not store your medication in the bathroom because the moisture may ruin the capsules. Leave the capsules in their original container, do not put them in a pill box. If you have any capsules left in the bottle after four months, you must discard them.

Watch for signs or symptoms of minor to severe bleeding. Minor bleeding includes nose bleeds, bleeding from your gums when you brush your teeth or a minor cut that continues to bleed. If any of these persist, call your pharmacist or doctor to ask for direction. If you notice signs of more severe bleeding such as blood in your stool or urine, coughing up blood or vomiting blood, treat this as an emergency and get medical help right away.

Most Important Warnings

  • There is an increased risk of a new blood clot forming if this medication is stopped before your treatment is complete. If this medication must be stopped, consider using another anticoagulant in its place. Also, dabigatran may cause a blood clot around your spinal cord if you receive a spinal injection or an epidural. This type of blood clot may paralyze you permanently.

Other Warnings & Cautions

  • Use caution while performing activities with sharp objects that may lead to bleeding, such as shaving and nail trimming. Use an electric razor when shaving and be sure you use a soft toothbrush when brushing your teeth. If you fall or injure yourself, check in with your doctor as soon as possible to make sure you do not have any internal bleeding.
  • Avoid use of alcohol while taking dabigatran. Daily use of alcohol while taking this medication increases your risk for stomach bleeding.
  • Always tell your healthcare providers, including your dentist, that you are taking dabigatran. Some procedures require you to stop your medication to limit the chance of bleeding. Do not stop your medication on your own; your health care provider will tell you exactly when to stop and restart your medication.
  • Do not take this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are taking this medication and think you might be pregnant, contact your doctor right away.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if dabigatran is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Many medications have the potential to cause bleeding, and you need to know what you can and cannot take with this medication. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any bleeding disorders, recent surgeries, a history of stomach disorder, or any liver, kidney or heart disease.
  • While taking dabigatran, you may feel some upset stomach, headache, nausea and experience some easy bruising. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any unusual bleeding such as bleeding from your gums, a constant nose bleed or prolonged bleeding from a cut.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any blood in your urine or stool or are vomiting or coughing up blood.
  • Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20