What is Pradaxa?
Pradaxa (dabigatran) is a blood thinner approved by the FDA in 2010. It is an oral anticoagulent used to prevent blood clots and strokes in patients with a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation. Pradaxa was marketed as a more effective and safe alternative to other blood thinners.
What is the Main Concern with Pradaxa?
All blood thinners can cause spontaneous internal bleeding and dangerously excessive bleeding when there is trauma, such as a fall. However, with older blood thinners, such as warfarin, there are ways to rapidly counteract the anticlotting effects.
There is no reversal agent for Pradaxa and it is not affected by plasma factor VIIa, and factor concentrates. The only way to stop the bleeding is to get Pradaxa out of the body. This requires dialysis, but it takes several hours of dialysis and even that only gets up to 60% of the drug out of the blood.
Many doctors do not even know to try dialysis when a patient presents with Pradaxa bleeding. Even when they do, it is not always a realistic option. Even if dialysis is started right away, it may not be effective enough, fast enough, to save a patient who is bleeding to death.
Are There Alternatives to Pradaxa?
The main alternative to Pradaxa is Warfarin. This has been on the market for over 50 years, but Warfarin may also cause internal bleeding among some patients. However, Warfarin may be a safer alternative for some patients because it has a known antidote that works. For those experiencing internal bleeding with Warfarin, plasma, vitamin K or prothrombin complex concentrates can be administered. Pradaxa has no antidote and emergency dialysis may be the only option and often comes too late.
What are Common Injuries Associated with Pradaxa?
There are many injuries associated with Pradaxa. Here are some common Pradaxa side effects:
- Brain hemorrhagic
- Excessive bleeding from trauma
- Gastrointestinal Bleeding
- Heart attack
- Hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain)
- Internal bleeding
- Kidney bleeding
How Do I Know if I have Internal Bleeding?
Any of the following could be a symptom of internal bleeding and you should contact your doctor immediately:
- Coughing or sneezing blood
- Vomiting blood
- Unusual bruising
- Blood in urine or stool
- Upset stomach or severe headaches paired with nausea and vomiting
- Unusual bleeding gums or nosebleeds
- Excessive bleeding from minor cuts
- Fatigue or weakness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important for you to call your doctor immediately. The earlier you can catch internal bleeding, the better.