Dabigatran is used to prevent stroke and harmful blood clots (such as in your legs or lungs) if you have a certain type of irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation). Dabigatran is also used to treat blood clots in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism) and to reduce the risk of them occurring again. This medication may also be used to prevent these blood clots from forming after hip replacement surgery. Dabigatran is an anticoagulant that works by blocking a certain substance (a clotting protein called thrombin) in your blood. This helps to keep blood flowing smoothly in your body. Dabigatran should not be used to prevent blood clots from forming after artificial heart valve replacement. If you have had heart valve surgery, talk to your doctor about the best medication for you. Do not stop taking any medication, including dabigatran, without talking to your doctor first.
See also Warning section. Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking dabigatran and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually twice a day. To prevent clots after hip or knee replacement surgery, take it as directed by your doctor, usually once a day. Avoid antacids within 24 hours after surgery, or dabigatran may not work as well. Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters). Do not crush, chew, or break open the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Do not put this medication in a pill box or medication reminder box. It must be kept tightly closed in the original bottle (or blister package) to protect it from moisture. See also Storage section for more important details. The dosage is based on your medical condition, kidney function, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. It is very important to take it exactly as directed. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than directed. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
See also Warning section. Easy bruising or minor bleeding (such as nosebleed, bleeding from cuts) may occur. If either of these effects persists or worsens, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. This medication can cause serious bleeding if it affects your blood clotting proteins too much. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of serious bleeding, including: unusual pain/swelling/discomfort, unusual/easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums, persistent/frequent nosebleeds, unusually heavy/prolonged menstrual flow, pink/dark urine, coughing up blood, vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, severe headache, dizziness/fainting, unusual or persistent tiredness/weakness, bloody/black/tarry stools. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: stomach/abdominal pain, severe heartburn/nausea/vomiting, unusual fatigue, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
See also How To Use section. Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep this medication in the original bottle. Do not put this medication in a pill box or medication reminder box. Open only one bottle at a time, and once the bottle is opened, the medication must be thrown away after 4 months. If your capsules are in a blister package, then keep the capsules in the blister package until you are ready to take the medication. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
See also Warning section. Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: mifepristone. Other medications can affect the removal of dabigatran from your body, which may affect how dabigatran works. Examples include cobicistat, cyclosporine, dronedarone, ketoconazole, rifampin, and St. John's wort, among others. Aspirin, aspirin-like drugs (salicylates), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib) may have effects similar to dabigatran. These drugs may increase the risk of bleeding problems if taken during treatment with dabigatran. Carefully check all prescription/nonprescription product labels (including drugs applied to the skin such as pain-relieving creams) since the products may contain NSAIDs or salicylates. Talk to your doctor about using a different medication (such as acetaminophen) to treat pain/fever. If you have been prescribed low-dose aspirin and related drugs (such as clopidogrel, ticlopidine) for specific medical reasons such as heart attack or stroke prevention, ask your doctor if you should continue taking them or if your prescription should be changed. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: bloody/black/tarry stools, pink/dark urine, unusual/prolonged bleeding.