Dabigatran etexilate is a drug that acts on the body to reduce the risk of clots in the circulatory system under certain conditions. Dabigatran is a medication used to prevent dangerous blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation. Like other drugs in its class, it makes the blood thinner and interferes with the body’s ability to produce thrombin. People should not garble the two drugs and figure out the difference between them.
Dabigatran etexilate is an enzyme inhibitor, so it blocks the action of one particular enzyme, called thrombin, on processes inside the circulatory system. In a healthy person, thrombin causes blood to clot, which is useful for open wounds and other injuries to the body that cause bleeding. In the case of people who have abnormal heartbeats, thrombin can produce dangerous clots inside the body. Dabigatran etexilate blocks thrombin from performing one step in the clotting process — turning a substance called fibrinogen into another substance called fibrin, which helps the clot to form.
Nonvalvular atrial fibrillation is a condition in which a person’s heart does not beat in a normal rhythm. Patients who have this illness are at risk of their blood clotting in the blood vessels, with these clots potentially being fatal or capable of causing strokes. To manage the risk of this happening, a doctor might prescribe dabigatran etexilate to the patient.
An anticoagulant, dabigatran prevents stroke and systemic embolism by keeping blood clots from forming. Anticoagulants interfere with the enzyme thrombin, which releases a substance that helps platelets in the blood stick together. This interference can prevent thrombin from forming, prevent it from functioning, or both.
Dabigatran is in a class of anticoagulant (”blood thinner”) medications called direct thrombin inhibitors. It works by preventing blood clots from forming in the body. Dabigatran is used to help prevent strokes or serious blood clots in people who have atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the heart beats irregularly, increasing the chance of clots forming in the body, and possibly causing strokes) without heart valve disease.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved dabigatran for preliminary use in 2010. It is similar to another drug currently on the market called warfarin. Both of these medications pose an equal risk of internal bleeding, which can be considered an acceptable risk if the chances of developing a life-threatening blood clot are high. There are two dosages of dabigatran that have been approved for use by the FDA. Most patients are prescribed 150 mg to take twice a day.