What is dabigatran?

Dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) is a type of anti-clotting medicine called an anticoagulant. It is used to prevent:

  • stroke in people with a heart condition called atrial fibrillation who also have at least one other risk factor for stroke, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • serious blood clots (venous thromboembolism or VTE) in people who have had hip or knee replacement surgery.

How does it work?

Dabigatran helps prevent blood clots from forming. It works by blocking a blood-clotting protein called thrombin. Anticoagulants like dabigatran are sometimes called ‘blood thinners’, but this is not how they actually work. They do not make your blood thinner, but instead just cause it to take longer to clot.

Note: Dabigatran doesn’t treat the irregular heartbeat of atrial fibrillation or the rate of your heartbeat. Your doctor may prescribe other medicines or treatments for this.