Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Support Group

Atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) which involves the two small, upper heart chambers (the atria). Heart beats in a normal heart begin after electricity generated in the atria by the sinoatrial node spread through the heart and cause contraction of the heart muscle and pumping of blood.

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My cardiologist suggested I take the new drug Xarelto, an alternative to Pradaxa. I am a bit scared because a side effect (like Pradaxa) is possible uncontrolled bleeding. I said SO like if I am in a car accident and bleed I can die? He said Yes. Uh oh! But then he said The risk of blood clot/stroke is higher than car accident (I'm not sure on that). He thought it was worth the risk.
My CHADS is only 1. I am inclined to stay with aspirin but he this the Xarelto is superior.



I'm curious about this drug too. I heard it is easier on the stomach than pradaxa. Anyone on this med?

My mother in law is on it. So far so good. Once a day. Less stomach stuff than Pradaxa. Less brain bleeds than Coumadin. There is an antidote that works to some extent. Anyone know about the cost? The science of anticoagulation is moving quickly.

At least on my prescription plan Xerelto costs the same as Pradaxa. I was considering going on this, but there are issues with stopping it and brain or spinal cord blood clots that I don't fully understand. There is always some problem that makes me pause with these blood thinners (including the old standby warfarin).

Important information about Xarelto

Xarelto can cause a very serious blood clot around your brain or spinal cord if you undergo a spinal tap or receive spinal anesthesia (epidural), especially if you have a genetic spinal defect, a history of spinal surgery or repeated spinal taps, or if you are using other medications to treat or prevent blood clots. Symptoms of this type of blood clot include numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or loss of movement. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Xarelto. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can increase your risk of bleeding or life-threatening blood clots, and it is very important to tell your doctor about all medicines you have recently used.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have signs of bleeding such as black or bloody stools, coughing up blood, confusion, feeling like you might pass out, or any bleeding that will not stop.

Blood clots around the brain or spinal cord may occur if you use Xarelto with other drugs that can affect blood clotting, including aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or Motrin, and any other medications to treat or prevent blood clots.

Do not stop taking Xarelto without first talking to your doctor. Stopping suddenly can increase your risk of blood clot or stroke.

Wow, those are hairy precautions!!

Thanks Katywhite. It is so important to see how medicines fit your own situation. I have taken away 2 things:

1) Ask your doctor why they prescribed the particular medication in your case.
2) Be your own advocate. You are as important as any patient that pays money to the doctor. Don't be timid. Express your thoughts and opinions and provide all the information you can to your doctor.

Dumb question of the century... my primary care physician (not my EP) prescribed Pradaxa and actually diagnosed the afib, so obviously, I never took Pradaxa before.

So he asked me "Are you allergic to Pradaxa?"

How the hell do I know?

Yeah I love that precaution on every drug. Do not take if you are allergic to this drug.

What I don't understand about Xerelto is how one of the side effects is that it can cause blood clots to the brain or spinal cord. I thought it was an anti-coagulant. You would think it would cause bleeds and not clots. Weird.

I guess I should do some research on the drug that is pending FDA approval - apixaban. So far I don't know much about it or what makes it different from Xarelto.
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