What is Pradaxa?
Dabigatran is used to prevent stroke and harmful blood clots (such as in your legs or lungs) if you have a certain type of irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation). Dabigatran is also used to treat blood clots in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism) and to reduce the risk of them occurring again. This medication may also be used to prevent these blood clots from forming after hip replacement surgery. Dabigatran is an anticoagulant that works by blocking a certain substance (a clotting protein called thrombin) in your blood. This helps to keep blood flowing smoothly in your body. Dabigatran should not be used to prevent blood clots from forming after artificial heart valve replacement. If you have had heart valve surgery, talk to your doctor about the best medication for you. Do not stop taking any medication, including dabigatran, without talking to your doctor first.
How to use Pradaxa
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking dabigatran and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually twice a day. To prevent clots after hip or knee replacement surgery, take it as directed by your doctor, usually once a day. Avoid antacids within 24 hours after surgery, or dabigatran may not work as well. If you have a stomach upset while taking this medication, take it with food.
Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters). Do not crush, chew, or break open the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drugs at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Do not put this medication in a pillbox or medication reminder box. It must be kept tightly closed in the original bottle (or blister package) to protect it from moisture. See also the Storage section for more important details.
Easy bruising, minor bleeding (such as nosebleed, bleeding from cuts), upset stomach, or heartburn may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication can cause serious bleeding if it affects your blood clotting proteins too much. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of serious bleeding, including unusual pain/swelling/discomfort, unusual/easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums, persistent/frequent nosebleeds, unusually heavy/prolonged menstrual flow, pink/dark urine, coughing up blood, vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, severe headache, dizziness/fainting, unusual or persistent tiredness/weakness, bloody/black/tarry stools.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including stomach/abdominal pain, severe heartburn/nausea/vomiting, unusual fatigue, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.