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INDICATIONS

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About AFib Not Caused by a Heart Valve Problem?

As you learn about AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, it’s natural to have questions. Here are some answers you may find helpful.

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Atrial fibrillation (AFib) not caused by a heart valve problem is also known as nonvalvular AFib (NVAF). AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. The majority of all AFib is caused by nonvalvular AFib. With NVAF, the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, quiver (fibrillate) instead of fully contracting to push the blood through the heart. The blood left in the atria can pool and clump together, increasing the risk for clots to form. If a clot breaks loose and travels to the brain, blocking or limiting blood flow, it can cause a stroke.

AFib not caused by a heart valve problem results in 5 times greater risk of stroke. It is the cause of 15% of strokes. Watch a short video to see how AFib can lead to a stroke. If you have AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, talk to your doctor about treatment options that can help reduce the risk of stroke.


SEE ALSO:
Dr. Why Explains How AFib Can Lead to a Stroke


The symptoms of nonvalvular AFib can be different for everyone. Some people don’t feel any symptoms at all, which is why AFib not caused by a heart valve problem is often discovered as part of a routine medical exam or during a hospital stay. Some of the common symptoms people experience include heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fatigue. Whether you experience symptoms or not, you’re still at a greater risk of stroke from AFib not caused by a heart valve problem.

An anticoagulant is a type of blood thinner that may be prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem. Anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding, which can be serious.


SEE ALSO:
Dr. Why Talks about Why Anticoagulants Are Important


In 2014, it was estimated that about 6.4 million people in the U.S. have the type of AFib that is not caused by a heart valve problem.


SEE ALSO:
Dr. Why Explains Who Is at Risk for AFib


In most cases, AFib not caused by a heart valve problem is a chronic condition. That means it won’t go away. However, if you have AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, there are medicines that can help reduce the risk of stroke, such as blood thinners. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting exercise are also good habits to get into for any condition. Talk to your doctor about diet and exercise or about any other activities you should modify, and ask if a blood thinner is right for you.

Get tips for a heart-healthy diet from the American Heart Association.

If someone you know has AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, it is important that they talk to their doctor about taking medication to help them reduce the risk of stroke. But since AFib is usually a chronic condition, they may also need advice, encouragement, and support. Here are some of the ways you can help:

Start by learning more about AFibKnowing more about it will not only help you understand what they are dealing with but also help you offer them informed support.

Be of assistance on doctor visits—Regular physician follow-ups are one of the most important steps a person with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem can take. If the person you’re helping would like to speak to their doctor about ELIQUIS, you can our guide, which has some questions you may want to discuss with their doctor.

Follow doctor’s recommendations—If someone you know is taking ELIQUIS, it’s extremely important that they take it as prescribed by their doctor. They should not change their dose or stop taking ELIQUIS unless their doctor told them to. Stopping ELIQUIS increases their risk of having a stroke.

Help with coverage assistance—Finding answers to questions about insurance coverage usually involves a few phone calls and a lot of paperwork. You can help with both. Start by calling to talk to a live agent who can contact the insurance company to verify benefits, determine if ELIQUIS is covered, and assist with prior authorizations and formulary exception requests.

Lead by example—Chances are, a person with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem will be much more willing to take care of themselves—by eating well, keeping a regular schedule, meditating, taking a walk, etc.—if he or she is around another person who also leads a healthy lifestyle.

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION & INDICATIONS

For people taking ELIQUIS® (apixaban) for atrial fibrillation: Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the doctor who prescribed it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS increases your risk of having a stroke.

ELIQUIS may need to be stopped prior to surgery or a medical or dental procedure. Your doctor will tell you when you should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS, your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help prevent a blood clot from forming.

ELIQUIS can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood thinner medicine that reduces blood clotting.

You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take ELIQUIS and take other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (called NSAIDs), warfarin (COUMADIN®), heparin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and other medicines to help prevent or treat blood clots. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

While taking ELIQUIS, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop.

Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms of bleeding when taking ELIQUIS:

  • unexpected bleeding or bleeding that lasts a long time, such as unusual bleeding from the gums, nosebleeds that happen often, or menstrual or vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal
  • bleeding that is severe or you cannot control
  • red, pink, or brown urine; red or black stools (looks like tar)
  • coughing up or vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • unexpected pain, swelling, or joint pain
  • headaches, or feeling dizzy or weak

ELIQUIS (apixaban) is not for patients with artificial heart valves.

Spinal or epidural blood clots (hematoma). People who take ELIQUIS, and have medicine injected into their spinal and epidural area, or have a spinal puncture have a risk of forming a blood clot that can cause long-term or permanent loss of the ability to move (paralysis). Your risk of developing a spinal or epidural blood clot is higher if:

  • a thin tube called an epidural catheter is placed in your back to give you certain medicine
  • you take NSAIDs or a medicine to prevent blood from clotting
  • you have a history of difficult or repeated epidural or spinal punctures
  • you have a history of problems with your spine or have had surgery on your spine

If you take ELIQUIS and receive spinal anesthesia or have a spinal puncture, your doctor should watch you closely for symptoms of spinal or epidural blood clots or bleeding. Tell your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness, especially in your legs and feet.

Do not take ELIQUIS if you currently have certain types of abnormal bleeding or have had a serious allergic reaction to ELIQUIS.

Before you take ELIQUIS, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver problems, have any other medical condition, or have ever had bleeding problems. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed. You and your doctor should decide if you will take ELIQUIS or breastfeed. You should not do both.

Take ELIQUIS exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Take ELIQUIS twice every day with or without food, and do not change your dose or stop taking it unless your doctor tells you to. If you miss a dose of ELIQUIS, take it as soon as you remember, and do not take more than one dose at the same time. If you are taking ELIQUIS for atrial fibrillation, stopping ELIQUIS may increase your risk of having a stroke. Do not run out of ELIQUIS. Refill your prescription before you run out. When leaving the hospital following hip or knee replacement, be sure that you will have ELIQUIS available to avoid missing any doses.

Possible serious side effects include bleeding or a reaction to ELIQUIS itself. A reaction to ELIQUIS can cause hives, rash, itching, and possibly trouble breathing. If you get this reaction, it will usually happen soon after you take a dose of ELIQUIS. Get medical help right away if you have sudden chest pain or chest tightness, have sudden swelling of your face or tongue, have trouble breathing, wheezing, or feeling dizzy or faint.

INDICATIONS

ELIQUIS (apixaban) is a prescription medicine used to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in people who have atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem.

ELIQUIS is a prescription medicine used to treat blood clots in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism), and reduce the risk of them occurring again.

ELIQUIS is a prescription medicine used to reduce the risk of forming a blood clot in the legs and lungs of people who have just had hip or knee replacement surgery.

Please see U.S. Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS and Medication Guide.

ELIQUIS is available in 2.5-mg and 5-mg tablets.

COUMADIN® is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective companies.

LOVENOX® is a registered trademark of Aventis Pharma S.A.

This independent, non-profit organization provides assistance to qualifying patients with financial hardship who generally have no prescription insurance. Contact 1-800-736-0003 or visit www.bmspaf.org for more information.

The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may have different product labeling in different countries.

The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a healthcare provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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SELECTED IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

For people taking ELIQUIS® (apixaban) for atrial fibrillation: Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the doctor who prescribed it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS increases your risk of having a stroke.

ELIQUIS may need to be stopped prior to surgery or a medical or dental procedure. Your doctor will tell you when you should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS, your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help prevent a blood clot from forming.

ELIQUIS can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood thinner medicine that reduces blood clotting.

You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take ELIQUIS and take other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (called NSAIDs), warfarin (COUMADIN®), heparin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and other medicines to help prevent or treat blood clots. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.