Dabigatran etexilate is the chemical name of a drug used as an anticoagulant. In the U.S., Europe and Australia, dabigatran etexilate is marketed as "Pradaxa®"; in Japan, dabigatran etexilate is sold as "Prazaxa," and in Canada, the same drug is marketed as "Pradax." Dabigatran etexilate is an oral drug treatment usually given to patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), a cardiac (heart) problem.
Watch the video below to learn more about atrial fibrilation:
Dabigatran Etexilate Is Pradaxa®'s Generic Name
Since the drug name "dabigatran etexilate" is a pretty tough sell (it's difficult to even remember), the manufacturer of the drug — Boehringer Ingleheim — gave it the name "Pradaxa®" for U.S. use. The image on the left illustrates the registered molecular structure of Dabigatran.
Used to Prevent Stroke and Blood Clots
Dabigatran etexilate is used to prevent stroke and blood clots (a major cause of stroke), by preventing or delaying coagulation (clotting) of the blood. It's not a "blood thinner," as some people have mistakenly called it. Dabigatran etexilate does not make the blood thin; it inhibits an enzyme, thrombin, an important part of the blood's coagulation cascade.
Side Effects of Dabigatran Etexilate
Although dabigatran etexilate is an effective anticoagulant (for atrial fibrillation and other disorders), the side effects of dabigatran are under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency charged with protecting the American population from unsafe drugs. In late 2011, the FDA initiated an investigation of dabigatran-linked deaths and life-threatening internal bleeding.
On Dec. 7, 2011, the FDA issued a drug safety communication to announce that it was evaluating post-marketing reports of serious bleeding events in patients taking the drug. The agency warned patients to seek immediate medical care if they developed the following signs and symptoms of internal bleeding:
- Unusual bleeding from the gums
- Frequent nose bleeds
- Brown or pink colored urine
- Dark brown or black stools (tar-like)
- Unexplained bruising
- Coughing up blood
- Throwing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Important Patient Information
Physicians often do not give their patients the brand name or generic name of a drug being prescribed, even when the drug treatment is not in an emergency setting. Dabigatran etexilate is prescribed in both emergency and non-emergency settings, and a patient may not be told of the potential risks that this drug presents.
Patients should be aware that all anticoagulant drugs can increase the risk of serious, potentially fatal bleeding events and should contact their health providers right away if they experience any signs or symptoms of bleeding.
Other side effects associated with dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa®) include:
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Stomach pain
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Digestive tract ulcers
Contact a Pradaxa® Injury Lawyer
If you suspect or know that you were prescribed dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa®) for any condition and you have concerns about its side effects, contact a Pradaxa® injury lawyer to learn more. Our attorneys are available to review cases on behalf of people who have suffered internal bleeding, heart attack or other serious, life-threatening events after being treated with dabigatran etexilate.