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 FAQs A-Fib Drug Therapy: Eliquis

Drug Therapies for Atrial Fibrillation, A-Fib, Afib

My last cardiologist had me on the anticoagulant Pradaxa. My new cardiologist wants me to switch to Eliquis. Is Eliquis safer, or easier to deal with if bleeding occurs?”

One of the problems for Atrial Fibrillation patients taking anticoagulants is the risk of life threatening or uncontrolled bleeding, particularly if one is injured. Since the introduction of the NOAC anticoagulants, there’s been an increase of hospital admissions and deaths related to bleeding, one of the major complications of anticoagulation, many due to a lack of reversal agents for the NOACs.

Update May 2018: There are now FDA-approved NOAC reversal agents, Praxbind for Pradaxa (dabigatran) and Andexxa for the NOACs Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and Eliquis (apixaban).

For more about the new anticoagulants, see Warfarin vs. Pradaxa and the Other New Anticoagulants.

“RxScore” Score: Eliquis Safer

Through an analysis of data from the ‘FDA Adverse Event Reporting System’ by AdverseEvents, Inc., Eliquis has received an “RxScore” safety score of 39.45 on a 100 point scale (1=lowest risk, 100=highest risk). In comparison, Coumadin (warfarin) had a score of 67.57. Pradaxa (dabigatran) had a score of 67.15, Xarelto (rivaroxaban) 67.08.

The FDA’s database comprises all the reports made by doctors, patients and other healthcare providers, which means it’s not a “scientific” finding with the authority of a clinical trial. AdverseEvents applies logic, math and software to the database to sift out the important data.

For Eliquis, “the rate of suspect cases was lower in every type of adverse-event report, from hospitalization to death.” For example, among Eliquis patients reporting side effects, only 21% cited hospitalization, while Pradaxa had 39%, Xarelto 43% and Coumadin (warfarin) 50%.

The results all point to the same general conclusion: Eliquis may be a safer choice among the new NOACs.

American Red Cross emergency ID

Medical ID: If you’re on any blood thinner, it’s a good idea to carry some kind of medical ID. If you have an accident involving bleeding, EMTs don’t normally carry anti-clotting meds. But they can call ahead to the ER and get the staff ready to help you.

To learn more, see: Update 2018: Print a free Medical Alert I.D. Wallet Card.

Resources for this article
• Examining the Comparative Safety of Blood Thinners: An Analysis Utilizing AdverseEvents Explorer, February 2014, Special Report Download. http://info.adverseevents.com/special-report-blood-thinner Last accessed July 10, 2014.

• Staton, Tracy. Eliquis earns best safety score in its class in analysis of FDA adverse event reports. FiercePharma, February 26, 2014. Last accessed July 10, 2014, http://www.fiercepharma.com/story/eliquis-earns-best-safety-score-its-class-analysis-fda-adverse-event-report/2014-02-26.

Return to FAQ Drug Therapies
Last updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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