Atrial Fibrillation? Ask Your Doctor About Pradaxa! Anyone on it?

HeartHawk
By HeartHawk Latest Reply 2011-07-10 08:53:32 -0500
Started 2011-02-20 15:27:57 -0600

A new drug that is superior to Warfarin has been recently FDA approved to treat atrial fibrillation. Its brand name is Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate).

In clinical trials, people with atrial fibrillation taking Pradaxa had fewer strokes than those on warfarin. Warfarin has been problematic as it requires frequent monitoring with blood tests and it interacts negatively with many other drugs and some foods.

Anybody started taking it?

HH


29 replies

imsuzie2
imsuzie2 2011-07-02 04:31:59 -0500 Report

I'm back. GREAT INFO on ptinr.com, and that led me to StopAfib.org. I the this family of sites (diabeticconnect, etc). Hugs

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-07-10 08:53:32 -0500 Report

suzie,

3:18 and 4:31AM! What, can't sleep, lol? Thanks for the great info. This is what ISH (see my earlier comment below) is all about!

H

imsuzie2
imsuzie2 2011-07-02 03:18:04 -0500 Report

My husband is on Warfarin and we are thinking of the home INR monitor. Thru his Medicare plan, it is about $305…we want to check with the VA as well. I am on my way to ptinr.com. Thanks for the info. Looking into Pradaxa, but side effects are bad…husband only has 1 kidney. S2

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-07-10 08:51:00 -0500 Report

suzie,

Like any drug, Pradaxa is not for everyone - but is superior in some cases. The basis for my theory of Informed, Self-directed Healthcare (ISH) is for all of us to become better informed so we can work with our docs rather than just sit there following orders.

In the final analysis, we do have to trust our docs or, if we do not trust them, find others we do trust. Health is too complex to simply go it alone! We all need professional guidance.

HH

rob0334
rob0334 2011-06-30 17:17:20 -0500 Report

Hey all ya on Coumadin you can now get your own home INR monitor and its covered by Medicare or HMO. I check mine weekly at home, my doc gets results and adjust my diet at home. Eat salads/drink/travel. My doc keeps my coumadin steady and I control my portions for the week. cool thing. ptinr.com has great info on foods and vitaminK, helps me setup a diet. Coumadin is by far cheaper than all them new drugs and proven safe as long as I do my finger stick at home and stay within range.

re1ndeer
re1ndeer 2011-05-03 13:48:43 -0500 Report

Went today to my Coumadin Clinic to have my INR done, and I asked about Pradaxa and they looked at me as I slapped them in the face… Then they said my insurance would not pay for this drug as it was experimental and very expensive. Now when I see my doctor I'm going to ask about both Pradaxa and Multag. After reading the article on Multag, maybe it's better to stay on Warfarin, at least for now.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-07-10 08:46:41 -0500 Report

re1ndeer,

Typical behind the times healthcare. Pradaxa IS NOT experimental - it is a new FDA approved drug. Here is the FDA release notice from last October (2010)!

http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/109-fda-approves-pradaxa-to-prevent-stroke-in-people-with-atrial-fibrillation

It is expensive and not covered by insurance because it is new and unique although there is some competition around the corner. However, in several situations, Pradaxa has proven superior to Coumadin. I feel sheepish now about telling you to ask your docs about what those situations are but it really should be explained by your docs (good luck)!

Here is the link to the Pradaxa website.

http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/277-pradaxa-website

I would suggest printing out key pages from both links, rolling them up, and smacking your docs fingers - sorta like the nuns did to me in grade school when I was a bad boy, lol!

HH

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-05-04 23:38:21 -0500 Report

re1ndeer,

Remember, Pradaxa is new so will be expensive for a while but also note that many docs are not comfortable with prescribing something they are not familiar with. I think it si botha matter of cost and convenience for patients. See other comments fo rmore insight.

HH

clarkrnd
clarkrnd 2011-05-03 12:01:53 -0500 Report

I was on Coumadin and ended up with Coumadin toxicity, and was going for bloodwork every week. The took me off that and out me on Pradaxa and it is better for me. It is very expensive, even with insurance but you are given a card to help with the cost every month. It sure beats going for your INR every week.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-05-04 23:41:27 -0500 Report

Clark,

Yes the advantage of Pradaxa is much less frequent blood testing. Eventually, the cost of testing will outweigh the extra cost of Pradaxa.

HH

pattymac2011
pattymac2011 2011-05-02 16:46:31 -0500 Report

could someone please inform me of the different drugs available for atrial fibrillation since i refuse to take coumadin?

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-05-04 23:53:17 -0500 Report

patty,

There are two major considerations for afib.

  1. Blood thinners to combat cottling due to blood pooling in the heart. This is where Coumadin and Pradaxa come in. There is another investigational drug called Ximelagatran that is not yet approved.

  2. The second concern is heart rhythm and drugs like Multaq (dronedarone), and some newer drugs like Dofetilide, Ibutilide, Azimilide are in use.

There is also a minimally invasive surgical procedure call "ablation" that is used to with some success to directly interrupt faulty electrical coneections in the heart that drive afib. In some, it is a complete cure.

The best bet is to review these alternatives with your doc and consider the benefits and shortcoming of each therapy.

HH

pattymac2011
pattymac2011 2011-05-02 16:44:23 -0500 Report

Is this drug covered by medicare or medicaid? I refuse to go on coumadin and have been looking for an alternative. Could this be it?

Stephanie H.
Stephanie H. 2011-03-17 13:23:35 -0500 Report

My dr. had me on Pradaxa originally, but the it was too costly for me. I have insurance through my job and it isn't covered, so I would have to pay over $230 a month and I just can't afford it. However, for the 2 months I was taking it, it did seem to work pretty well, I was never on warfarin because I refused it, so now I am on Multaq, which I guess has it's own set of problems, lol

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-03-18 00:38:27 -0500 Report

Stephanie,

Even Multaq (dronedarone) can be pretty expensive compared to generics. Recent studies showed it to be less effective than generic amiodarone in some cases with no better side effects profile.

Ask your doc about it!

HH

Stephanie H.
Stephanie H. 2011-03-20 12:21:44 -0500 Report

Multaq is covered by insurance, so I only have a $15 copay each month. Because i am a single mom, paying for Pradaxa is just not an option for me.

imsuzie2
imsuzie2 2011-03-09 21:20:50 -0600 Report

Got off track again…bro-in-law on it, have not heard that he is having trouble. 73 yr old friend on it for a month and had to stop due to bleeding! When we mentioned the drug, electrophysiologist cardiologist said to wait till everything is under control…now there not not be a need to discuss it again.

imsuzie2
imsuzie2 2011-03-09 21:16:22 -0600 Report

My husband is on Warfarin, but both his cardiologist and electrophysiologist cardiologist (implnated the ICD) are saying after they test the device (could not when it was implanted due to the A-Fib at the time), if the electro still agrees agrees with the cardiologist, they will take him off it. He has only been on it since the hospital stay last week of December. At that time they took him off Crestor (liver) and digoxin. And, in Feb, the cardiologist switched the Atenelol out for Metroprolol (Toprol). She also gave him a script for Welchol 625 mg, 6 tablets a day…trying to get into the VA primary so we can cut down on the cost of the med.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-03-18 00:45:01 -0500 Report

suzie,

Looks like they have th efull-court press on against Afib.

  1. Atenolol/Metoprolol/digoxin for rate control.
  2. Warfarin for clotting control.
  3. ICD for resynchronization
  4. Crestor.Welchol for cholestrerol control

Any discussion of cryo-ablation by the electrophysiologist or cardilogist to try to fix a bad electrical conenction?

HH

cherokeeBlonde
cherokeeBlonde 2011-02-24 14:47:10 -0600 Report

Hello, I am also on coumadin, but thats not for the af its cuz I have a mechanical mitral valve( where tricuspid) should be there transposed, im on a lot meds and hate it I take 6 mg of Bumex a day which is a water pill, and its like 120 of lasix, and im on coozar and coreg and I was on hydralazine but it gives me headaches so I quit taking it. it seems the more drugs they give me the worse I get so I have a bad habit of adjusting my own meds and it works for me I have had this conditon my entire life and I know how my body feels. even though I have a pacemaker and have no underlying heartrate, except on occassion my heart may beat up to 8 bpm, but I still have af and it feels like someone is kicking me from the inside out. and its happening alot its kinda strange to feel every beat my heart beats, it just is not a normal thing and I feel everyone of them. so anybody on any of the meds I mentioned above also on aldactone and digoxin, anybody know any thing that may be a better alternative to any of them.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-02-25 00:47:45 -0600 Report

cherokee,

Like you I feel every beat. The docs say it is because I am so thin. Yeah, lots of drugs. I take a few but also a lot of supplements so it is just like taking 20 piils per day.

You know your body best but always consult the docs when changing doses. They are lots of factors to consider and the docs are trained to know them.

I have heard that hydralazine is nasty and is no longer a first-line drug of choice. Cozaar has a particlularly high incidence of side-effetcs in diabetics (are you?). Aldactone is used to treat hyperaldosteronism which can increase blood pressure. I would seek a second opinion especially since digoxin and hydralazine are no longer considered first-line treatment in many situations.

Finally, I always note I am not a doc. My opinions are based on what I read and I may not fully understand your conditon nor have I examined you. Still, a second (or even a third) opinion from a qualifiied medical professional never hurts.

HH

re1ndeer
re1ndeer 2011-02-20 18:50:05 -0600 Report

I'm not on this drug.
Are you taking this drug?
I would love to get off warfarin.
I looked it up on the Web, at their official site, do to some of the side effects, I will not be able to take this drug. I have stomach issues which could cause bleeding.
It did sound promising though.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-02-22 01:05:33 -0600 Report

re1ndeer,

The good news is that there are two similar drugs in the piprline that should be approved soon. Perhaps one of these will work for you.

HH

2marbles
2marbles 2011-03-19 11:57:50 -0500 Report

My doc told me the same about new meds to get rid of coumadin

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-05-02 23:50:12 -0500 Report

marbles,

Pradaxa is an alternative but may not be covered by insurance. Warfarin works well but requires extensive testing to maintain the proper blood level. What did your doctor recommend?

HH