Eliquis is a drug designed to block specific clotting agents and substances in the blood from forming. When blood clots form in people, it can lead to several significant health risks and potentially emergency situations, including stroke and cardiac arrest. Eliquis is designed to lower the risk of these, especially in people with heart rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation. By stopping the formation of blood clots around the body, especially in the leg and lungs, Eliquis has proven to be highly effective. Eliquis is known to specifically treat deep vein thrombosis in the legs and pulmonary embolisms in the lungs and prevent their reoccurrence.

Eliquis is considered a powerful blood thinner drug that doctors and healthcare professionals prescribe to prevent the onset of strokes and other complications from potentially fatal blood clots in the body. It is marketed as a drug to prevent strokes while minimizing excessive bleeding.

It is considered a prescription anticoagulant that lowers the risk of strokes and blood clots by targeting people with irregular heartbeats, commonly called atrial fibrillation. People who have recently undergone knee or hip replacement surgery are often prescribed Eliquis to prevent the onset of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is because, post-operation, these people have to remain sedentary and less mobile during the healing process, often leaving the body more susceptible to blood clots forming within veins.

If left untreated, blood clots can move throughout the body and become lodged in arteries, thereby blocking blood flow to and from the heart or the lungs, leading to life-threatening conditions like a pulmonary embolism. Eliquis blocks this blood clotting activity within the body and other clotting substances within the blood from forming.

Generics

Eliquis, or apixaban, comes in tablet form. The Food and Drug Administration approved generic versions of Eliquis on December 23rd, 2019. This was because the drug was extensively tested and proved to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolisms in people suffering from nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. On top of this, because of its effectiveness in preventing the onset of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may eventually cause a pulmonary embolism in patients who have recently undergone hip or knee replacement surgery are prone to, the drug was approved in generic form at the national level.

By allowing Eliquis to be sold in this generic form, the leadership of the FDA said that it would improve access to low-cost yet safe and high-quality medicine for patients suffering from various blood-related conditions. The FDA’s approval for generic apixaban was initially for Micro Labs Ltd. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. only, but more approvals are likely to follow in years to come.

Eliquis, or apixaban, must be dispensed with a medication guide for patients, providing instructions on its safe use and other critical drug safety information. Healthcare professionals are also expected to discuss with their patients any signs and symptoms of possible internal bleeding they may experience while taking the drug. This approval for a generic version of Eliquis aligns with the FDA’s Drug Competition Action Plan, which was implemented to help increase patient access to affordable and potentially lifesaving medications nationwide.

Canada also approved generic alternatives to Eliquis in June of 2022. Apotex Inc. was granted permission to manufacture the generic alternative primarily because it is the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the country. Apotex Inc. said that this approval was in line with the company’s commitment to bringing more generic and affordable medications to Canadians, especially those with a high risk of blood clots and, therefore, other related severe conditions, including stroke and heart attack.

Precautions and Warnings

As with taking any prescribed medication like Eliquis, seeking extensive professional advice from your doctor or healthcare professional is crucial. Some people may be allergic to Eliquis or its generic form, apixaban. You cannot start Eliquis if you have just had surgery or are recovering from an injury. This is because Eliquis works by thinning the blood and may cause you to bleed more easily.

People with other blood disorders should also seek medical advice before taking Eliquis.

It is important that your doctor or healthcare professional is aware of any artificial heart valves you have ever had or if you suffer from excessive bleeding, have liver or kidney disease, or suffer from antiphospholipid syndrome, which can be diagnosed from a triple positive antibody test.

According to drugwatch.com, specific spinal cord injuries and conditions can be exacerbated by taking Eliquis, as the drug may cause severe blood clots around the spine. Blood clots around the spine may cause long-term paralysis and this may happen if:

  • you have a catheter inserted in your spine or have recently had one removed,
  • you have a history of spinal cord surgeries, injuries or you’ve had a spinal tap procedure,
  • you’ve recently had an epidural anesthesia (common during delivery)
  • you take a number of over-the-counter NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam and others or,
  • you are taking other medicines aimed at preventing or treating blood clots.

Those that are pregnant should be aware of potential internal bleeding caused by Eliquis and it is important not to breastfeed while taking Eliquis either.

Because people on Eliquis are at risk of excess bleeding an injury, it is recommended that extra care be used whilst shaving the skin while brushing your teeth.

Side Effects

It is recommended to get emergency medical help if while you are on Eliquis you experience allergic reactions. These may include hives, chest pain, wheezing and difficulty breathing, feeling dizzy and lightheaded, swelling around the face or the lips tongue or throat.

Eliquis cannot be taken before any surgery or invasive procedure, including dental work, because of the bleeding that may occur post-surgery. Patients must stop taking Eliquis at least 24 to 48 hours before surgery.

On rare occasions, Eliquis can cause more severe blood clotting issues around the spinal cord, which may lead to permanent paralysis. People who undergo spinal surgeries, epidurals, or other Spinal Tap procedures are particularly at risk of this type of paralysis. People with a genetic spinal defect or who use a spinal catheter may also not be suitable for using Eliquis. Severe back pain, numbness, muscle weakness in the lower body, and loss of bladder or bowel control may also be signs of blood clots around the spine. Immediate medical help should be sought if these occur while on Eliquis.

As with any prescribed medication, it’s essential to seek and listen to advice from your doctor or other health care professional, as stopping suddenly may further increase the risk of blood clots forming in the body, leading to other serious health complications.

Because Eliquis works by thinning the blood in the body, there is an increased risk of severe or fatal bleeding, especially internally. Patients may experience:

  • swelling,
  • general pain,
  • feeling weak or dizzy,
  • bleeding gums,
  • excessive nose bleeds,
  • noticeably heavy menstrual periods,
  • abdominal bleeding,
  • blood in the urine and feces,
  • blood in the mouth and vomit and
  • bleeding from cuts that won’t not stop.

Drug Interactions

People should be aware of some notable drug interactions when taking Eliquis. A doctor or medical professional will typically consider these before prescribing the drug to not put the person at risk of any complications while on Eliquis. Certain medications may also interact with Eliquis, making it less effective, so it is essential that these other drugs are stopped while on Eliquis.

According to drugwatch.com, there are some common medicines people take that may increase bleeding when taken with Eliquis or in its generic form, apixaban. These include:

  • Aspirin or other drugs that contain aspirin,
  • Prolonged or extensive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s). This includes brands like Advil, Motrin and Aleve,
  • Medicines that contain heparin which includes the brands Lovenox, Innohep or Fragmin,
  • Some serotonin-based drugs including Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft (SSRI’s),
  • Other serotonin base products like Cymbalta or Effexor (SNRI’s),
  • Any other prescription drugs that are used to prevent blood clots forming in the body such as other anticoagulant products like Xarelto or Coumadin.
  • Ketoconazole (antifungal medications like Nizoral, Xolegel or Extina)
  • Itraconazole (other antifungal medications like Sporanox and Onmel)
  • Ritonavir (HIV antivirals like Norvir)
  • Clarithromycin (antibiotics like Biaxin)
  • Rifampin (tuberculosis medications like Rifadin)
  • Carbamazepine (anticonvulsant medications like Tegretol, Carbatrol, Epitol or Equetro)
  • Phenytoin (other anticonvulsant medications like Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek or Cerebyx)
  • Supplements containing St. John’s Wort

Strengths and Dosages

Eliquis and apixaban come in a variety of doses and strengths. Usually, these are informed by the conditions you might have.

Patients susceptible to deep vein thrombosis following hip or knee replacement surgery, a 2.5 mg dose will be prescribed, taken orally, twice a day. Hip replacement patients will be given a 35-day course, whereas knee replacement patients will be given a 12-day course of Eliquis or apixaban. For people with recurrent DVT and PE risk, they are prescribed a 2.5 mg dose that is taken orally twice a day.

For adults taking Eliquis to prevent thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation, a 5 mg dose is prescribed that is taken twice a day. This is for people requiring a reduced risk of stroke or systemic embolism due to non-valvular atrial fibrillation. A similar dosage will be prescribed to people taking Eliquis for thromboembolic stroke prophylaxis.

For adults suffering directly from deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, a 10 mg strength is prescribed for seven days, taken twice a day, followed by a maintenance dose of 5 mg, taken orally twice a day.

If you miss a dose while on Eliquis or apixaban, it is typically recommended to take the missed one on the same day you remember it and then stick to your regular schedule twice a day. It is essential to take only one dose at a time. Consult with your doctor or healthcare professional should this occur.

How do you take Eliquis?

Your doctor or healthcare professional will tell you how to take Eliquis. However, as with the majority of people requiring the drug, it is simply swallowed orally with or without food (as directed), and typically twice daily. If swallowing the tablet is difficult, some alternative methods to taking Eliquis include crushing the tablet and mixing it with water or apple juice or sprinkling it in apple sauce.

As with any prescription medication it’s important to consult with your doctor should there be any difficulties that emerge whilst taking the drug, and when it comes to ordering refills. A refilling schedule avoids running out of the drug and maintains a reliable dosage delivery in the body.

It may take a few days for Eliquis to start working in the body or for you to notice results, hence the importance of sticking to the recommended schedule.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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