Pradaxa is a medicine licensed to reduce the risk of strokes and blood clots in people who have atrial fibrillation. This prescription medication works by preventing a certain protein in the body from forming blood clots. It comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily. Potential side effects include bleeding, abdominal (stomach) pain, and indigestion.
What Is Pradaxa?
Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) is a prescription anticoagulant medication. It is approved to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation, a certain type of irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It is also approved to treat deep vein thrombosis blood clots and pulmonary embolism blood clots and to prevent repeat blood clots.
Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2010, Pradaxa is a long-awaited "blood thinner" that is easier to dose, requires less monitoring, and is more effective, compared to warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®).
Pradaxa is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Pradaxa Work?
This medication is a direct thrombin inhibitor. It works by inhibiting the actions of thrombin, a naturally occurring protein in the body. Thrombin encourages clot formation in several different ways. By inhibiting thrombin, Pradaxa helps to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Clinical studies have shown Pradaxa to be more effective than warfarin for preventing strokes and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation. In one study, 3.4 percent of people taking warfarin had a stroke or blood clot, while 2.2 percent of people taking Pradaxa 150 mg twice daily had a stroke or blood clot.
When treating blood clots that have already occurred, studies suggest that Pradaxa works about as well as warfarin.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 3, 2010.
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