Apixaban (Eliquis®)

What is apixaban?

Apixaban is an oral anticoagulant. Anticoagulants are medicines that treat and prevent blood clots.


Your dose of apixaban is for:

  • Prevention of stroke due to atrial fibrillation
  • Prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) after hip or knee surgery
  • Treatment of acute DVT or PE
  • Prevention of recurrent DVT or PE


Your dose of apixaban is:

  • Atrial fibrillation: 5 mg twice-daily (2.5 mg twice daily in some people)
  • Prevention of DVT or PE after hip or knee replacement: 2.5 mg twice daily
  • Treatment of acute DVT or PE: 10 mg twice daily for 1 week, followed by 5 mg twice daily for at least 3 months
  • Prevention of recurrent DVT or PE: 2.5 mg twice daily


Practical tips for taking apixaban:

Apixaban should be taken two times a day with or without food, as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.


What if you miss a dose?

It is important to take Apixaban twice a day every day. Be sure you fill your prescription on time. If you miss a dose:

  • Within 6 hours, take your missed dose and then continue your regular dosing
  • More than 6 hours, skip the dose and take the next dose at the usual time
  • Do not take a double dose


Does apixaban have side effects?

All anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding. Bleeding can be minor or major:

  • Minor bleeding stops on its own and does not last long. Examples of minor bleeding include: nose bleeding, gum bleeding, bruising, etc.
  • Major bleeding (see below) is more serious, requires medical attention, and stopping Apixaban at least temporarily.


When should you contact your doctor or pharmacist urgently?

If you have any of the following symptoms of bleeding:

  • Becoming pale, very weak and tired, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Black/tarry or bloody bowel movements
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Pink/red or dark coloured urine
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Coughing or vomiting up blood
  • Any bleeding that won’t stop
  • Physical injury such as head injury, broken bones, car accidents, sports injuries
  • Be sure to tell your health care providers that you are taking Apixaban if you need surgery


Does Apixaban require any kind of monitoring?

  • No regular blood testing to check the level of Apixaban is needed. Your doctor does need to check how well your kidneys are working by doing a blood test called “creatinine”. Your kidney function must be known before starting Apixaban. It should also be checked at least once a year and more often if your kidneys are not working well.
  • Patients taking Apixaban do require follow-up with their physician.
  •  Carrying a wallet card or ID bracelet that states you are taking Apixaban is a good idea. In case of emergency, this would be important for health care providers to know.


Take Away Message

  • Apixaban reduces your risk of developing blood clots.
  • Remember to take Apixaban on time and refill your prescription early
  • Missing doses will reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. Immediately report symptoms of a blood clot, such as stroke to an emergency room.
  • Take the medication for the duration indicated by your doctor and don’t stop prior to that without talking to your doctor first.
  • Immediately report any unusual or major bleeding
  • Changes to your health and/or medicines may affect Apixaban. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if these occur.
  • Having an ID bracelet and wallet card with your medical information is a good idea.



The above information was directly obtained from the Thrombosis Canada website (thrombosiscanada.ca).


Did you know?

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Did you know that certain oral anticoagulants (blood thinners) don’t require regular blood tests and can be taken instead of warfarin (Coumadin) in patients with:


-Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism

-Atrial Fibrillation in patients who never had a  heart valve replacement

Did you know that there is an information video playing in CETAC about warfarin (Coumadin) that can also be viewed on this website?

Did you know that our Anticoagulation and Thrombosis clinic is now called CETAC ? It stands for  “Centre of Excellence in Thrombosis and Anticoagulation.”

Did you know that CETAC is heavily involved in research to advance the care and lifestyle of our patients? You can look on this website to see what studies we are doing and if you are a potential participant.