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 I am taking ________ mg of dabigatran  ________ a day

Dabigatron (Pradaxa®)

 

Dabigatran (Pradaxa®) is used to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in people who have atrial fibrillation. With atrial fibrillation, part of the heart does not beat the way it should. This can lead to the formation of blood clots, increasing your risk for stroke.

 

Important facts to remember:

  • Take dabigatran exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking dabigatran without first talking to your doctor. Stopping dabigatran may increase your risk for stroke.

 

  • Take the exact amount prescribed at the same time each day.  If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.  If your next dose is less than 6 hours away, skip the missed dose. DO NOT give yourself an “extra” dose.

 

  • Swallow dabigatran capsules whole. Do not break, chew, or empty pellets from the capsule.

 

  • Tell all of your doctors and dentists you are taking dabigatran.  Dabigatran may need to be stopped, if possible, for one or more days before any surgery.

 

Dabigatran is known as an anticoagulant, which is a drug that lengthens the time it takes for your blood to clot.  This makes it harder for clots to form in your blood vessels and heart, and keeps existing clots from getting larger.  If you are going to be taking dabigatran, there are some important facts you need to know about this medication. 

 

Important facts to remember:

 

  • Take dabigatran exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking dabigatran without first talking to your doctor. Stopping dabigatran may increase your risk for stroke.

 

  • Take the exact amount prescribed at the same time each day.  If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.  If your next dose is less than 6 hours away, skip the missed dose. DO NOT give yourself an “extra” dose.

 

  • Swallow dabigatran capsules whole. Do not break, chew, or empty pellets from the capsule.

 

  • Tell all of your doctors and dentists you are taking dabigatran.  Dabigatran may need to be stopped, if possible, for one or more days before any surgery.

 

Call you doctor or healthcare provider immediately if you:

 

  • Have unexpected bleeding or bleeding that lasts a long time such as unusual bleeding from the gums, nose bleeds that happen often and/or menstrual bleeding or vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal. Tell your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any of the following: dark, tarry or bloody stools; pink or brown urine; cough up blood or blood clots; unusual weakness, dizziness or headache; bruising or bleeding at an incision site following surgery or surgical procedure.

 

  • Develop swelling of your face or tongue, or experience trouble breathing or wheezing which may indicate an allergic reaction.

  

  • Have any severe abdominal pain, severe chest pain or shortness of breath, headache, eye problems (blurred vision/loss of vision), or severe leg pain (calf or thigh).  They may be a sign of a blood clot.

 

  • Start any new medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) products and dietary supplements. Some medicines may affect the way dabigatran works such as warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), ticlodipine (Ticlid®), cilostazol (Pletal®), dipyridamole (Persantine®), pand ain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®) and naproxen (Aleve®). These drugs increase your risk of bleeding when taken together with dabigatran.

 

 Commonly Asked Questions 

  

What is this medicine used for?

With atrial fibrillation, part of the heart does not beat the way it should. Clots may form in the heart and then travel to the brain where they can become stuck and cause harm. Dabigatran has been prescribed for you because you have an irregular heart beat which increases your chance of forming blood clots. 

 

 

What may interact with this medication?

Dabigatran may interact with the following medications:

  • aspirin and aspirin-like medications

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs       

           (NSAIDs)

  • clopidogrel (Plavix®)

  • dipyridamole (Persantine®)

  • heparin

  • prasugrel (Effient®)

  • ticlopidine (Ticlid®)

  • warfarin (Coumadin®)

  • rifampin

 

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use.

 

Is there any lab monitoring required with this medication?

There is no blood or lab monitoring required with dabigatran.

  

What side effects may occur?  

Common side effects of dabigatran include:

  • Indigestion, upset stomach, or burning

  • Stomach pain

  • Bruising easily

 

The most serious side effect of dabigatran is bleeding. If you experience any of the side effects listed below ,you should report to your doctor or healthcare professional immediately.  

  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • Bleeding that lasts a long time, such as bleeding from your gums or nose

    • Unusual or unexplained bruising

    • Pink or brown urine

      • Black, tarry stools, or blood in the stool

      • Feeling faint or lightheaded, falls

      • Cough up blood or blood clots

      • Women: long-lasting or heavy menstrual bleeding

 

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

How can I lower my risk of bleeding?

Since it takes longer for your blood to clot when you are taking dabigatran, you will need to take some steps to avoid injury:

  • Do NOT take part in activities that have a high risk of injury, such as skiing, football, or other contact sports

  • Shave with an electric razor instead of a blade

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss gently with waxed floss

  • Do NOT walk barefoot and do NOT trim foot corns or foot calluses yourself

  • Tell your dentist or orthodontist that you are taking dabigatran

 

 

If you have additional questions about dabigatran, please talk to your nurse or physician so arrangements can be made for a pharmacist to meet with you.

 

Information is provided as a service of University Medical Center at Princeton’s

 Department of Pharmacy Services

 

References

-          Boehringer Ingelheim. Dabigatran® package insert. Ridgefield, CT. 2010.

 

 

1st edition, April 2011                                                                                                              Created by Danielle Candelario, Pharm.D.