What is Eliquis?
Eliquis is a medication given to adults to stop blood clots from forming. A blood clot is when some of your blood thickens and forms a gel-like plug in your body. It can block the flow of your blood, and – in some cases – lead to life-threatening conditions.
Eliquis is an anticoagulant medication (sometimes called a blood thinner) that lowers the chances of blood clots forming. The active ingredient in Eliquis, called apixaban, disrupts a substance in your body (factor Xa) that causes your blood to clot.
What is Eliquis used for?
Eliquis is used to treat and prevent blood clots. Blood clots usually form as the result of injury or when the flow of blood in a part of your body slows down. Your blood thickens and turns from a liquid to a gel.
Clots can be dangerous, particularly when they travel through your blood vessels to other parts of your body. Blood clots that form in veins deep inside your body, particularly in your legs, called deep vein thrombosis, and clots that form in your heart, can travel to your lungs and other organs.
A blood clot in your lungs, called a pulmonary embolism, can make it difficult to breathe and can be life-threatening. A clot that blocks blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke. Clots that travel to other organs can damage those organs (systemic embolism) and also be life-threatening.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 100,000 Americans lose their lives each year because of blood clots.
Eliquis is most likely to be prescribed in the following cases:
Specific Eliquis uses
- To treat blood clots in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis), and to prevent deep vein thrombosis from reoccurring.
- To treat blood clots in the blood vessels of your lungs (pulmonary embolism), and to prevent a pulmonary embolism from reoccurring.
- To prevent a deep vein thrombosis, that could lead to a pulmonary embolism, if you’ve had knee or hip replacement surgery.
- To reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the heart if you have a condition called nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. These clots can travel to the brain and cause a stroke, or travel to another organ in your body (systemic embolism).
How does Eliquis work?
Your blood undergoes a complex process when it thickens to form a clot. A key step of this process is controlled by an enzyme called factor Xa.
Eliquis targets factor Xa. The active ingredient within the medication, apixaban, attaches to factor Xa, stopping it from working, and interrupting the clotting process. This helps to reduce the likelihood of clots forming in your blood.
How to take Eliquis
Eliquis comes as a tablet that is taken orally, usually swallowed with water. It’s typically taken once a day, at the same time each day. Eliquis can be taken with or without food.
If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, Eliquis can be crushed into a powder. This powder can be mixed into water, 5% dextrose in water, apple juice, or into apple puree. Talk to your physician if you need to take Eliquis in this way.
Your Eliquis dosage will be decided upon by your physician. This will vary depending on the condition you’re taking it for and your medical history. Always take your Eliquis as directed by the prescribing medical professional.
If you take too much Eliquis (an Eliquis overdose), you may have an increased risk of bleeding. You must seek medical attention immediately if this happens. Take your Eliquis packaging with you, even if there are no tablets left.
If you forget to take your Eliquis, take your normal dose as soon as you remember. Take your next dose at the usual time, then continue as normal.
Don’t stop taking Eliquis without talking to your physician. Your risk of developing a blood clot could be higher if you stop your treatment too early.
Eliquis and alcohol
The company that makes the medication gives no warnings about drinking alcohol whilst taking Eliquis. Alcohol may be drunk whilst taking the medication, but it may be sensible to limit any alcohol until you’re confident of how Eliquis affects you. Talk to your physician if you’re concerned about drinking alcohol whilst using Eliquis.
Eliquis side effects
As is the case when you take any medication, there is the possibility of side effects occurring when you take Eliquis. Not everyone will experience side effects, although some people may experience more severe side effects.
Around one in 10 people who take the medication will experience the most common Eliquis side effects, including:
- Low blood pressure
- An increase in bruising and swelling
The rarer side effects that can sometimes occur when taking Eliquis can include:
- Serious allergic reactions to the medication
- Bleeding in your brain and spinal column
- Bleeding in your lungs
- Bleeding into a muscle
Side effects of Eliquis in the elderly
Patients over 75 years of age have an increased risk of bleeding when they take oral anticoagulants like Eliquis. Your physician will assess your risk of bleeding, and other side effects, against the benefits of Eliquis when deciding upon the most effective treatment for you. Raise it with them if you have any concerns about taking an oral anticoagulant.
Eliquis and bleeding (Eliquis bleeding risk)
Your blood forms clots to plug cuts and injuries, stopping you bleeding. Because Eliquis reduces blood clots, it can increase your risk of bleeding. You may also bruise more easily. Bleeding can be serious, even fatal.
You should avoid other medications alongside Eliquis that can increase your chances of bleeding. These include aspirin and other antiplatelet agents, as well as other anticoagulants, heparin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
If you’re taking Eliquis and you begin to bleed, or you experience symptoms of blood loss, seek urgent medical attention.
Symptoms of blood loss
If bleeding is internal, you may not notice it. The following symptoms may indicate internal bleeding, however:
- Pale, cold or clammy skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Weak pulse
- Blue lips and fingertips
- Loss of consciousness
- Blood in your stool
- Blood in your urine
- Vomiting blood
Eliquis isn’t suitable for everyone. You shouldn’t take Eliquis if you are under 18 years of age or are allergic to any of the ingredients found in the medication including the active ingredient apixaban.
Don’t take the medication if you are bleeding excessively or:
- You have an organ condition which increases the likelihood of serious internal bleeding, like a stomach ulcer
- You have a liver disease called hepatic coagulopathy
- You are taking any other anticoagulant medications
Before taking the medication, you should talk to your physician if you:
- Have an increased risk of bleeding, such as a bleeding disorder or very high blood pressure
- Are over 75 years of age
- Weight 60kg or less
- Have a severe kidney disease or are on dialysis
- Have a liver problem or a history of liver problems
- Had a catheter or an injection into your spine
- Have a prosthetic heart valve
- Have antiphospholipid syndrome
- Are scheduled to have a spinal puncture
- Are scheduled to have an operation with a local anesthetic, particularly neuraxial anesthesia
- Are lactose intolerant
- Need to have surgery or another procedure that can cause bleeding
- Are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
When Eliquis is taken with other medications, they can interact. When this occurs, it can change how those medications work and can even make some side effects more likely and more severe.
Those medications that interact with Eliquis include:
- Any other anticoagulants
- Antifungal medicines (ketoconazole)
- Antiviral medicines for HIV/AIDS (ritonavir)
- Anti-inflammatory medicines (acetylsalicylic acid or naproxen)
- Any pain medications
- Medicines for high blood pressure or heart problems
- Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Medicines to prevent epilepsy or seizures (phenytoin)
- Medicines to treat tuberculosis (rifampicin)
- St John’s Wort
What are the most common side effects of Eliquis?
The most common side effects of Eliquis affect around 10% of people who take it. They include nausea, anemia, low blood pressure, an increase in bruising and swelling, and increased bleeding, including blood in your urine, and bleeding from the nose, gums, and vagina.
What type of pain medication is safe with Eliquis?
If you want to use a pain medication alongside Eliquis, use a paracetamol medication, like Tylenol or Panadol. Other types of pain medication, like aspirin and NSAIDs like Advil, Motrin, or Naprosyn, can increase your risk of bleeding and should be avoided.
What foods to avoid on Eliquis?
Some blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medications can interact with food, like warfarin. Eliquis works differently to these blood thinners though and has no interactions with food. There are no foods you need to avoid whilst taking Eliquis.
How long does it take for Eliquis to work?
This will vary by person. It depends on your condition, your health, your dose, and how you react to the medication. On average, Eliquis takes around three to four hours to reach peak concentration in your body, so should take a couple of hours to begin working.
How much does Eliquis cost?
Without insurance, Eliquis prices will depend on the quantity you buy and where you buy it. As a guide, a pack of 60 Eliquis tablets will cost around $550, and a pack of 100 tablets around $900.
With Prescription Care you may be able to get Eliquis for a flat fee of only $49 per month. See how we can help you access affordable Eliquis medication.