(Rx) - indicates only available by prescription
Dabigatran is used to prevent blood clots from forming because of a certain irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). Preventing these blood clots helps to reduce the risk of a stroke. Dabigatran is also approved in Canada to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs or lungs after hip or knee replacement surgery.
Dabigatran is an anticoagulant that works by blocking a certain substance (a type of clotting protein called thrombin) in your blood.
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. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush, chew, or break open the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Do not transfer this medication to a pill box or medication reminder box. It must be kept tightly closed in the original bottle (or blister package) to protect it from moisture. See Storage section for additional important details.
Dosage and treatment length are based on your medical condition, kidney function, and response to treatment. Dabigatran is usually taken once a day to prevent clots after surgery or twice a day to prevent clots from atrial fibrillation. Avoid antacids within 24 hours after surgery, or dabigatran may not work as well. It is very important to take it exactly as directed. Do not increase the dose, take it more frequently, or stop using it unless directed by your doctor.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Before taking dabigatran, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, bleeding problems (such as bleeding of the stomach/intestines, bleeding in the brain), blood disorders (such as anemia, hemophilia, thrombocytopenia), liver disease, recent major injury/surgery, infection in the heart (bacterial endocarditis), stroke, frequent falls/injuries.
It is important that all your doctors and dentists know that you take dabigatran. Before having surgery or any medical/dental procedures, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication and about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Your doctor may direct you to stop this medication before surgery. Follow your doctor’s directions carefully.
Avoid getting injections into the muscles. If you must have an injection into the muscle (for example, a flu shot), it should be given in the arm. This way, it will be easier to check for bleeding and/or apply pressure bandages.
This medication may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages.
This medication can cause heavy bleeding. To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use great caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters. Use an electric razor when shaving and a soft toothbrush when brushing your teeth. Avoid activities such as contact sports. If you fall or injure yourself, especially if you hit your head, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor may need to check you.
Older adults may be at greater risk for bleeding while using this drug.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before breast-feeding.
Easy bruising or minor bleeding (such as nosebleed, bleeding from cuts) may occur. If either of these effects persists or worsens, 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 of these serious side effects: stomach/abdominal pain, severe heartburn/nausea/vomiting.
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious signs of bleeding occur: vision changes, confusion, slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.