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What is this medication? 

Dabigatran, Pradaxa
 Direct Thrombin Inhibitor.

Dabigatran, Pradaxa is indicated for treatment of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, non-vascular atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in total hip arthroplasty.

“Alert: Black Box Warning

Thrombotic events:
Premature discontinuation of dabigatran increases the risk of thrombotic events. If anticoagulation with dabigatran is discontinued for a reason other than pathological bleeding or completion of a course of therapy, consider coverage with another anticoagulant.

Spinal/Epidural hematoma:
Epidural or spinal hematomas may occur in patients treated with dabigatran who are receiving neuraxial anesthesia or undergoing spinal puncture. These hematomas may result in long-term or permanent paralysis. Consider these risks when scheduling patients for spinal procedures. Factors that can increase the risk of developing epidural or spinal hematomas in these patients include use of indwelling epidural catheters; concomitant use of other drugs that affect hemostasis, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), platelet inhibitors, or other anticoagulants; a history of traumatic or repeated epidural or spinal punctures; a history of spinal deformity or spinal surgery; optimal timing between the administration of dabigatran and neuraxial procedures is not known.”

How does this medication work? 

Dabigatran, Pradaxa is a competitive, direct thrombin inhibitor. Because thrombin (serine protease) enables the conversion of fibrinogen into fibrin during the coagulation cascade, it inhibits coagulation by preventing thrombin-mediated effects including the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin, activation of factors V, VIII, XI, and XIII, and inhibition of thrombin-induced platelet aggregation.

How should I take this medication? 

Oral: 110mg daily to 150mg twice daily depending upon indication.

How to Take: Can be taken with or without food with a full glass of water.  If, you experience dyspepsia than consider adding it to meals.  Do not break, chew, or open capsules, as this will lead to 75% increase in absorption and potentially serious adverse reactions.

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Before starting Dabigatran, Pradaxa make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take.  There is a risk of bleeding and thromboembolic events upon discontinuation of therapy.  Patients with antiphospholipid syndrome and/or heart valvular disease should not take Dabigatran, Pradaxa.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication? 

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, dyspepsia, epigastric pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis; hemorrhage.

Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only the most common.