Apixaban is a type of medicine that is used as an anticoagulant, or blood thinner.It makes our blood flow through your veins more easily. This means our blood will be less likely to make a dangerous blood clot.
It’s used to treat people who have had a health problem caused by a blood clot, such as a stroke, a heart attack, a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) and a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
It’s also used to prevent blood clots if we’re at high risk of having them in the future. People who are at high risk include those who have an abnormal heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and have recently had surgery to replace a hip or knee joint. It is only available on prescription and comes as tablets. It’s usual to take the medicine twice a day. We can take apixaban with or without food.
The most common side effect of the medicine is bleeding more easily than normal, such as having nosebleeds, heavier periods, bleeding gums and bruising. It tends to happen in the first few weeks of treatment or if we’re unwell.
Always carry an anticoagulant alert card. Show it to the doctor or dentist before having surgery or dental treatment. It’s important they know we’re taking apixaban, as it may put us at risk of bleeding.
Apixaban can be taken by adults aged 18 and over and is not suitable for some people. Tell the doctor if we have had an allergic reaction to apixaban or any other medicines in the past, are trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant – apixaban can be harmful to the baby, have liver problems, have had a recent spinal injury or surgery, are taking any other medicines that affect blood clotting, such as warfarin, have any injuries that are currently bleeding a lot, such as a wound or a stomach ulcer, are taking the herbal remedy St John’s wort (often taken for depression) and have antiphospholipid syndrome, a condition that affects the immune system and makes you more likely to get blood clots.