Heart Home > Pradaxa Uses

Although Pradaxa is licensed to prevent strokes and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation, some healthcare providers also recommend the medication for treating other medical conditions. Some of these off-label (unapproved) uses for Pradaxa include preventing or treating blood clots in people who have cancer or who are undergoing surgery. This prescription medication is only approved for people age 18 and older.

What Is Pradaxa Used For?

Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) is a prescription anticoagulant medication. It is approved to prevent strokes and "systemic embolism" (blood clots) in people with atrial fibrillation. It is also approved to treat deep vein thrombosis blood clots and pulmonary embolism blood clots, and to prevent repeat clots. 

Using Pradaxa for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that occurs when the electrical system that controls the heartbeat is no longer working properly. It occurs in the atria of the heart (the upper chambers).
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include an irregular heart rhythm, a rapid heart rate, heart palpitations (the sensation that your heart is racing or pounding), or feeling like your heart is fluttering (see Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation). With atrial fibrillation, both the heart rhythm and rate are abnormal.
These arrhythmias may cause certain complications, such as:
  • Pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung)
  • Systemic embolism (a blood clot anywhere else)
  • A stroke
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF).
The goals of treatment for atrial fibrillation usually include one or more of the following:
  • Returning the heartbeat to a normal sinus rhythm, if possible
  • Controlling the heart rate if normal sinus rhythm cannot be achieved safely
  • Preventing blood clots from forming by prescribing an anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication, such as Pradaxa
  • Treating the underlying causes of the abnormal rhythm and any atrial fibrillation complications
  • Reducing the risk factors that may lead to a worsening of the condition.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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