How to take dabigatran

Dabigatran (Pradaxa) comes in capsules. Swallow the dabigatran capsule whole with water. Do not chew the capsule or break it open. Dabigatran capsules can be taken with or without food — though taking it with food may reduce the risk of indigestion.

Take your daily dose at the same time each day. If you forget to take your dabigatran capsules, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Do not take double if you miss a dose because this will increase your risk of bleeding. Find out more about what to do if you miss a dose.

How much dabigatran do I take?

The dose and number of capsules that you need to take every day is different depending on why you are taking it — to prevent a stroke if you have atrial fibrillation, or to prevent a blood clot after hip or knee replacement surgery.

What is the dose for atrial fibrillation?

Most people with atrial fibrillation will be prescribed 150 mg dabigatran capsules.

Dabigatran to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation is taken twice a day — once in the morning and once at night.

A lower dose 110 mg capsule — also taken twice daily — is recommended if you:

  • are aged over 75 years
  • have kidney problems
  • have a high risk of bleeding.

Your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate dose for you.

What is the dose for hip or knee replacement surgery?

After hip or knee replacement surgery, the first dose is one 110 mg capsule, which you take 1–4 hours after your surgery. After that, the daily dose is doubled to 220 mg (two 110 mg capsules taken together) — taken once a day.

Your doctor will prescribe a lower dose of 150 mg (two capsules of 75 mg) if you:

  • are aged over 75 years  
  • have kidney problems
  • are taking other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding (e.g. you are taking other anti-clotting medicines).

Your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate dose for you.

What to do if you miss a dose

Whether you should take a missed dose will depend on when you are due to take the next dose.

  • If it’s more than 6 hours until your next dose is due, take the missed dose.
  • If it’s 6 hours or less until your next dose is due, do not take the missed dose.

Take your next dose at the usual time and then continue taking your dabigatran capsules as normal.

Do not take double your usual dose at one time to make up for missed doses. This will increase your risk of bleeding. If you are unsure about what to do, talk to your doctor or pharmacist or call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424).

How do I store dabigatran?

Pradaxa capsules are supplied as blister packs or in bottles depending on the strength and quantity.

If dabigatran capsules are exposed to the air it may reduce how well it works. Keep dabigatran capsules in their sealed blister segments or bottle (with the lid properly closed) and only remove each capsule immediately before taking it. Any dabigatran capsules that are accidently exposed to air should not be used and should be discarded. Once opened, the capsules in a bottle must be used within 4 months.

For the same reason, storing dabigatran in tablet organisers or weekly medication packs (dose administration aids or dosette boxes) is not recommended. Don’t remove dabigatran capsules from the foil blister pack or bottle for repackaging in tablet organisers or weekly medication packs.

When do I stop taking dabigatran (Pradaxa)?

When you stop taking dabigatran (Pradaxa) will depend on whether you are taking it for atrial fibrillation or for hip or knee replacement surgery. Find out more about stopping dabigatran.

Take dabigatran for the prescribed number of days

When you are discharged from hospital after your surgery, some hospitals may give you enough dabigatran capsules to complete your full course of treatment. Other hospitals may only give you a few days’ supply — to cover the period between discharge and getting a prescription filled. In this case the hospital doctor may give you a prescription, or you may need to visit your doctor to ask for one.

Make sure you know how many days you need to take dabigatran for, and the total number of capsules you will need.

Don’t take more capsules than you need — for example,

  • do not take the dabigatran capsules from your doctor and the hospital at the same time
  • do not take dabigatran for more days than prescribed by your doctor.

Some tips for using dabigatran safely

  • Take your dabigatran at the same time every day
  • Do not take double to make up for missed doses
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist the date you should stop taking dabigatran. Write this date on the box and do not take any capsules after that.
  • Don’t take dabigatran for longer than the prescribed number of days.

Phone for medicines information

Call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424, Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm AEST) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, 'natural', vitamins and mineral supplements) from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia.

References