Thinking of Switching to a “New Generation” Blood Thinner? Here’s What You Need to Know First
If you’re on Coumadin and tired of all the monitoring you have to go through, you might be thinking of switching to one of the newer blood thinners such as Xarelto, Pradaxa or Eliquis. But before you make the change, you and your doctor should have a serious conversation about what changing your blood thinner can mean.
The “Vitamin K” Effect
The biggest thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that although the newer medications don’t require as much monitoring, there’s a potentially serious – even fatal – trade off. There is no known antidote for bleeding events associated with Xarelto, Pradaxa or Eliquis.
If you take Coumadin and have a severe cut or incident that leads to internal bleeding, doctors can give you high doses of vitamin K to help your blood coagulate. However, if you take one of the newer blood thinners like Xarelto, Pradaxa or Eliquis, you might suffer severe complications if you experience any serious bleeding. Because there is no antidote, you could potentially bleed to death if you are not able to get immediate medical attention.
As with any sort of major medical decision, you’ll need to have a long talk with your doctor first before determining whether or not to switch from Coumadin.