In the United States, anywhere between 2.7 to 6.1 million people have atrial fibrillation. This is a type of heart arrhythmia, which is when the heart beats in an irregular fashion.
Do you have this condition? Then you may have an increased risk of stroke. Because of this, you may have been prescribed Eliquis.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about this medication, including Eliquis side effects.
What Is Eliquis?
Eliquis is a prescription medication used specifically for people with atrial fibrillation. It may also be given to people who have a higher risk of developing pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which are blood clots that occur in the lung or leg. This includes people who have just gone through knee or hip replacement surgery.
“Eliquis” is actually the brand name; the medication itself is called apixaban and it was first approved by the FDA in 2012. This means you might be able to find it in its generic form under “apixaban.”
Because atrial fibrillation and surgery can increase your chances of having a stroke or blood clots, you need help fending these off. Eliquis is a type of blood thinner (factor Xa inhibitor) or anticoagulant.
It works by blocking factor Xa (an enzyme) in your blood. As a result, this will prevent your blood from gathering and forming blood clots.
How Do You Take Eliquis?
Eliquis is a tablet that you take twice a day without food; this is usually every 12 hours, but your doctor may prescribe the drug to be taken differently. Some patients may be given Eliquis through a feeding tube if needed.
You should take it with a full glass of water. If you’re unable to swallow the tablet whole, then you can crush it up and mix it in with water, apple juice, or applesauce. Make sure you take the dose straight away.
To ensure you’re taking the medication correctly, always make sure to check the pamphlet that comes with it.
Eliquis Side Effects
Practically all medications will have side effects; Eliquis is no exception. The most common side effect patients see is bleeding, such as nosebleeds or cuts that bleed easily. Other mild side effects include:
- Easy bruising
Most of these side effects are pretty normal. However, if they don’t go away with time or get worse, you’ll need to get in touch with your GP.
Serious Side Effects
More serious side effects include:
- Trouble breathing
- Serious dizziness
- Severe weakness
- Coughing up blood
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Serious headaches
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Heavy menstruation
- Swelling joints
- Joint pain
- Swelling of your face, lips, throat, or tongue
If you experience any of the above, then you’ll need to call your doctor as soon as possible.
Very Serious Side Effects
Very serious side effects include:
- Slurred speech
- Vision changes
- Weakness on only one side of your body
These are all signs of a stroke and you need immediate medical attention. Dial 911 or get someone to do so if you aren’t able to.
Signs of a Serious Allergic Reaction
It’s very rare for a patient to have a serious allergic reaction to Eliquis. However, it does happen. Here are the possible signs:
- Trouble breathing
- Itching of your face, throat, or tongue
- Swelling of your face, throat, or tongue
If you notice these side effects, you’ll also need to get medical help right away by dialing 911.
More Important Information About Eliquis
In no circumstance should you stop taking Eliquis abruptly, especially if your doctor hasn’t advised you to do so. This is because if you stop taking this medication, you’ll get a higher risk of stroke afterward.
It’s important you keep taking Eliquis for as long as your GP’s prescribed, even if you feel completely healthy. If you need to get off of this medication for any reason, your physician can help you mitigate any risks by prescribing another blood thinner in place of Eliquis.
Spinal Cord Blood Clot Risk
While Eliquis is taken to prevent blood clots, you still may have chances of developing them. More specifically, if you get a spinal puncture, spinal anesthesia, or an epidural while you’re actively taking the medication, this can raise your risk of blood clots.
Because of this, it’s absolutely vital to tell your doctor if you have any of these. It’s also important to tell them if you’ve gotten any of these in the past, as it may still increase your risk.
In general, antiplatelet, blood thinners, and some antidepressants (such as SSRIs) may interact with Eliquis. Mifepristone is another that might interact with it.
Some over-the-counter drugs may interact with Eliquis as well, such as aspirin and NSAIDs. More specifically, they may increase your risk of bleeding. The only exception is low-dose aspirin, which your doctor may prescribe to help lower your risk of stroke or heart attack.
The following might affect how your body eliminates Eliquis, which may affect how it works. They include:
- Azole antifungals
- HIV protease inhibitors
- St. John’s wort
- Antiseizure drugs
Ask your GP about what you should do if you’re on any of the above medications.
Make Sure to Speak to Your Doctor
If you ever get any Eliquis side effects, make sure you always speak with your doctor about them. The longer you delay communications with them, the more you’re putting your health at risk.
In general, it should be relatively safe to take Eliquis. So if you have a prescription, make sure to follow your doctor’s orders and fill it out as soon as possible.
Are you ready to fill your Eliquis prescription? You can make an order now! We offer safe prescription medications at just a fraction of their regular prices.