Pradaxa Side Effects

Pradaxa is a prescription blood thinner. It is used to prevent stroke in patients who suffer atrial fibrillation. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s movements are erratic and weak. Since blood does not move as effectively, it can build up around the heart. This blood buildup significantly increases the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. In fact, studies show that the risk of stroke is four to six times higher in atrial fibrillation patients.

However, a high number of Pradaxa side effects have been reported in users. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen thousands of reports regarding Pradaxa side effects. Among the most dangerous Pradaxa side effects is uncontrollable bleeding. This Pradaxa side effect has proven fatal for hundreds of patients.

Mild Pradaxa Side Effects

Among the most common Pradaxa side effects are easy bruising, nosebleeds, and bleeding from minor scrapes and cuts. It is important that all users are aware of Pradaxa side effects. Doctors and dentists should be notified that a patient is taking a blood thinner such as Pradaxa before surgeries or dental work takes place. If caution is not used, Pradaxa side effects from bleeding can be life-threatening.

It is recommended to seek immediate medical attention if patients experience Pradaxa side effects such as severe pain in the abdomen or stomach. Pradaxa side effects such as confusion, vision changes, slurred speech, and weakness in only one side of the body should also be treated immediately. These symptoms can indicate severe bleeding.

Other Pradaxa side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn

Severe Pradaxa Side Effects

Severe Pradaxa side effects primarily include uncontrolled bleeding. Some patients have experienced Pradaxa side effects such as liver failure, heart attack, and death. Reported Pradaxa side effects include hemorrhaging in the central nervous system and brain. In many cases, these Pradaxa side effects can prove fatal for the patient.

Heart Attacks

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a report analyzing Pradaxa side effects and heart attacks. The study assessed several trials with more than 30,000 patients. Results indicated that Pradaxa users were 33 percent more likely to suffer heart attack when compared with warfarin. Warfarin is another popular blood thinner that dominated the anticoagulant market before Pradaxa. It is most commonly known under the drug names Jantoven and Coumadin.

Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, patients may experience Pradaxa side effects in the form of severe allergic reactions to the drug. Pradaxa patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience reaction symptoms such as severe dizziness, rash, trouble breathing, and itching and swelling that occurs in the tongue, throat, and face.

Pradaxa Bleeding

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of severe injury and death from Pradaxa use. In 2011, more than 2,300 bleeding events were reported. Unfortunately, there is no proven cure for this bleeding. Pradaxa works by inhibiting thrombin, a blood-clotting enzyme. This means that the injection of clotting factors is ineffective, and cannot be used to treat bleeding episodes. When patients experience uncontrolled bleeding as a Pradaxa side effect, they should be monitored closely until Pradaxa is expelled from the body.

Immediate medical attention is recommended for patients experiencing:

  • Unusual bruising
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pink or brown-colored urine
  • Vomit that resembles coffee grounds
  • Severe joint pain or swelling
  • Dizziness, weakness, or severe headaches

Pradaxa manufacturer Boehringer Ingleheim recommends that bleeding episodes are treated with hemodialysis. This expedites the body’s natural filtration of Pradaxa from the bloodstream. However, this recommendation receives criticism. Many patients who suffer uncontrolled bleeding may not be capable of enduring hemodialysis treatment.

Increased risk factors for Pradaxa bleeding include:

  • Being over the age of 75
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Preexisting kidney problems
  • Preexisting or consistent stomach or intestinal bleeding
  • Taking other medications that also increase bleeding risk

View Sources

  • Hackett, Catherine. “FDA examines possible Pradaxa bleeding events.” Family Practice News 1 Jan. 2012: 8. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
  • Moore, Charles Haviland, et al. “Spontaneous Splenic Hemorrhage After Initiation of Dabigatran (Pradaxa) for Atrial Fibrillation.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 30.9 (2012): 2082.e1-2. ProQuest. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
  • Pierson, Ransdell. “Pradaxa And Xarelto: Top Heart Doctors Concerned Over New Blood Thinners.”Huffington Post. Reuters, 14 Jun 2012. Web. 2 Apr 2013.
  • “Safety & Side Effects.” Pradaxa. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., n.d. Web. 2 Apr 2013.