Dabigatran (Pradaxa) is one of a class of newer oral anticoagulants (also called anti-clotting medicines), along with apixaban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto) used to help prevent a stroke in people with a condition called atrial fibrillation, or to prevent clots after knee or hip replacement surgery.
Atrial fibrillation is a fast, irregular heartbeat that can lead to a blood clot forming in the heart. If the blood clot moves from the heart to the brain, it can block small blood vessels and cause a stroke.
Dabigatran and the other newer anticoagulants are alternatives to warfarin (brand names Coumadin, Marevan) for preventing strokes. Warfarin has been around for a while and is the mainstay of anticoagulant therapy.1
Even though dabigatran has been tested in clinical trials, it is a fairly new medicine and its full range of side effects is still being understood.
Anticoagulants reduce the tendency of blood to clot and, in turn, the risk of having a stroke.
Bleeding is a possible side effect of all anticoagulants. Some serious bleeds may be life-threatening.
What's the difference between dabigatran and warfarin?
While there is a risk of bleeding with warfarin and with the newer anticoagulant medicines such as dabigatran, there are two major differences that make bleeding potentially more of a problem with the newer anticoagulants.