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Pradaxa Related Risks of Heart Attack Subject of Medical Controversy

Updated on January 18, 2012

Pradaxa: New Anticoagulant Drug

Pradaxa, one of the new blood-thinning medications used in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, is the subject of medical controversy about the drug's potential to increase a user's risk of heart attack.

Recently published medical research in the Archives of Internal Medicine and Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Associationreveal differing views on both the increased risk of heart attack associated with the use of Pradaxa and how important any increased risk may be when weighed against the effectiveness of the medication for its indicated uses.

Indicated Use of Pradaxa

Pradaxa, trade name for dabigatran, is used in the prevention of serious blood clot formation and strokes in people who have atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve disease explains PubMed Health, a part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Atrial Fibrillation and Anticoagulants

Contrasting Medical Research Conclusions

Contrasting Research Conclusions

Research that compared myocardial ischemic events (loss of circulation to the heart muscle) in people taking dabigatran versus warfarin, the long-used anticoagulant drug for treatment of atrial fibrillation and published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that there was an insignificant increase in myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) with the use of Pradaxa instead of warfarin. Other myocardial ischemic events demonstrated no difference between the use of the two medications. This study was written up in July 2011.

A study accepted for publication by the Archives of Internal Medicine November 2011 and reported by January 9 reached a same, but different, conclusion to the risk of myocardial ischemic events with the use of dabigatran versus the use of warfarin. In this research report the two study authors, both physicians at the Cleveland Clinic, conclude that dabigatran use increases the risk of myocardial infarction enough that prescribing physicians should take this potential risk into account before prescribing Prodaxa for patients, particularly for patients with an otherwise high risk of a heart attack.

Further Research Necessary?

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated in December 2011 it will be investigating both of these research studies in addition to reports of severe bleeding events that have occurred with the use of Pradaxa. It remains unknown at this time whether additional studies into the risks of Pradaxa will be completed.

Discuss Drug Safety with Your Health Care Provider

Is Pradaxa Safe for Me?

If you are currently on Pradaxa, do not stop taking it without discussing it with your health care provider. Serious health complications could occur with unauthorized stoppage of this important medication.

Discuss any concerns you may have about taking this drug with your health care provider. He can explain the benefit/risk ratio of various medications for your individual health conditions.


This hub is informational only in nature and is not intended to replace or refute anything told by your health care provider. If you have any questions or concerns about your individual health, contact your health care provider.

Please note, also, that research such as that cited here is an indication of a conclusion. The scientific method requires that a study be replicated and the same conclusion found before it can be accepted as scientific fact.


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    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      TDAPharm, thanks for the updated information. With the newness of these medications, I am certain there will be more news in the near future.

      I appreciate your read and your comment.

    • TDAPharm profile image

      TDAPharm 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      The ECS just released a new position paper on these new novel oral anticoagulants. It appears that they favor treatment for AF with Apixaban over Dabigatran followed by Rivaroxaban. It will be interesting on the noted SE with Dabigatran in terms of its trend towards risk for MI. Good article and thank you.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Moonlake, 30 pills a day sounds like a mini meal in itself! I'm relieved to learn you're still here and I hope in good health.

      New medications offer hope, as in this case the Pradaxa keeps people who need a blood thinner from having to undergo frequent blood work. It's just important to also know any potential adverse effects.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      phdast7, I'm sorry to learn about your tachycardia and your past stroke. I can't second guess your physician's medication choices, but am thinking that perhaps because the Cartia was meant to control the tachycardia, the intention was you'd have no tachycardia-related issues, especially because as you mentioned, you had no indicators or family history of stroke.

      I hope you enjoy good health from this point forward. I appreciate your read and your comment.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Brett.Tesol, you're so right about the potential for serious side effects from some medications.

      One of the issues with using newly developed and approved drugs is that there is yet so much unknown, answers that can only come with time. I think it's important that we become educated about the medications we take so we can be proactive.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      My husband and I both take Plvaix. I've beem on heart medications since 1983 after two heart attack at 38. At one time I was taking 30 pills a day. I remember how hard it was to get use to all these drugs and what they did to my body but 28 years later I'm still alive.

      Very interesting hub I will book mark it and keep it in mind. NO Pradaxa. Voted Up.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Hub. Thanks for the information. I have been on Plavix for the last sever years. My neurologist prescribed it after I had a moderately severe stroke.

      I was 49 at the time with no indicators for stroke or family history of stroke. I was unable to return to work for a year and I did a lot of reading trying to figure out why someone with a cholesterol reading around 150 would suffer a stroke.

      Around the age of 40 I began having tachycardic episodes. A cardiologist ran all sorts of tests and prescribed Cartia to slow and strengthen my heart. I still occasionally had break through tachycardic episodes.

      After the stoke I found literature stating that tachycardia is known to result in increased clots and possible strokes. Not that it matters at this point, but I don't understand why I wasn't put on Plavix then to minimize the possibility of a stroke.

      Any thoughts. If this is way too personal or you would prefer not to answer, I certainly understand. Thanks you.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Up and interesting. It is scary how these medications intended to heal us can affect us negatively. Surprisingly many antidepressants actually cause suicidal tenancies, while I guess it would cure the problem, wouldn't be the resolution that the person visiting the doctor is expecting. Too many drugs have very serious side effects.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      b.Malin, thanks for the read. I'm like you; I've been in nursing over 30 years. I don't always agree with the first idea my health care provider directs; he's come to understand it is more a collaboration between us than the old school doctor/patient one.

      It's my hope through hubs such as these people will be better informed about health conditions and treatments so they'll be armed with that information should they need it.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      I'm so happy I am NOT on any Medication...maybe I'm fortunate, in the fact that I worked in the Medical Field for many years, and learned so much. We are so quick to allow ourselves to be put on medications, never questioning why, or if an alternative Life Style, or certain Vitamins can help. For once you are on these Meds. you must be weaned off slowly or complications will set in.

      Interesting Hub L.L. Wood.