What is Eliquis Used For? A Comprehensive Guide
Understanding Eliquis and its Mechanism of Action
Eliquis (apixaban) is a medication that belongs to the class of anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners. It is used to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the body, which can lead to serious medical conditions such as stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE).
The mechanism of action of Eliquis involves inhibiting a specific clotting factor in the blood called Factor Xa. By blocking Factor Xa, Eliquis prevents the formation of thrombin, which is a protein that is necessary for blood to clot. This helps to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the blood vessels.
Eliquis is different from other anticoagulants, such as warfarin, because it has a more specific mechanism of action and does not require regular blood monitoring. It is also associated with fewer drug interactions and has a lower risk of bleeding complications.
Overall, understanding how Eliquis works is important for patients who are prescribed this medication, as well as for healthcare providers who manage their care. By inhibiting Factor Xa, Eliquis can effectively reduce the risk of blood clots and improve the health outcomes of patients with certain medical conditions.
Medical Conditions Treated with Eliquis
Eliquis is primarily used to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with certain medical conditions. These conditions include:
Atrial fibrillation: Eliquis is FDA-approved to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Eliquis is FDA-approved to treat DVT and prevent its recurrence in patients who have been treated with an initial course of anticoagulant therapy for 5-10 days.
Pulmonary embolism (PE): Eliquis is FDA-approved to treat PE and prevent its recurrence in patients who have been treated with an initial course of anticoagulant therapy for 5-10 days.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE): Eliquis is FDA-approved to prevent VTE, which includes DVT and PE, in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery.
In addition to these primary uses, Eliquis may also be used off-label to prevent blood clots in other medical conditions, such as cancer-related thrombosis and arterial thrombosis. However, the use of Eliquis in these conditions is still being studied, and patients should discuss the risks and benefits with their healthcare provider.
Dosage and Administration of Eliquis
The dosage of Eliquis depends on the medical condition being treated, as well as the patient’s age, weight, and other factors that may affect their health. The recommended dosage for Eliquis is typically determined by a healthcare provider and should be followed closely to ensure the medication’s effectiveness and safety.
For patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, the recommended dosage of Eliquis is 5 mg taken orally twice a day. However, this dosage may be adjusted based on the patient’s age, kidney function, and other factors.
For patients with DVT or PE, the recommended dosage of Eliquis is 10 mg taken orally twice a day for 7 days, followed by 5 mg taken orally twice a day for 6 months. For patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery, the recommended dosage of Eliquis is 2.5 mg taken orally twice a day for 12 days.
Eliquis should be taken with or without food, as directed by the healthcare provider. Patients should not change their dosage or stop taking Eliquis without consulting their healthcare provider first, as doing so may increase the risk of blood clots or bleeding.
In the event of a missed dose, patients should take the missed dose as soon as possible, and then resume their regular dosing schedule. However, patients should not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. If a patient accidentally takes more than the recommended dose of Eliquis, they should seek immediate medical attention.
Potential Side Effects of Eliquis
Like any medication, Eliquis can cause side effects in some patients. Common side effects of Eliquis include:
- Skin rash
In rare cases, Eliquis can cause more serious side effects, such as:
- Bleeding, which can range from mild to severe and can occur in different parts of the body, such as the brain or intestines
- Allergic reactions, which can cause swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, as well as difficulty breathing
- Hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver
Patients who experience any of these more serious side effects should seek immediate medical attention. It is also important for patients to notify their healthcare provider if they experience any other unusual symptoms while taking Eliquis.
To reduce the risk of bleeding complications, patients should avoid taking other medications or supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), unless directed by their healthcare provider. Patients should also avoid activities that may increase the risk of injury, such as contact sports, while taking Eliquis.
Precautions and Contraindications for Using Eliquis
Before taking Eliquis, patients should inform their healthcare provider of any medical conditions they have, as well as any medications or supplements they are taking. Eliquis may interact with other medications, and patients should follow their healthcare provider’s instructions closely to reduce the risk of potential drug interactions.
In addition, there are some medical conditions that may increase the risk of bleeding complications while taking Eliquis. Patients with a history of bleeding disorders, stomach ulcers, or liver or kidney disease should inform their healthcare provider before taking Eliquis.
Eliquis is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to apixaban, as well as in patients who have active pathological bleeding. It should also be used with caution in patients who have a prosthetic heart valve or who are undergoing spinal puncture or epidural anesthesia.
Finally, Eliquis should not be stopped or started without the guidance of a healthcare provider, as doing so may increase the risk of blood clots or bleeding complications. Patients should inform their healthcare provider if they plan to undergo any surgical procedures, as Eliquis may need to be temporarily stopped prior to the procedure.