Apixaban (Eliquis)

What is apixaban?


Apixaban (Eliquis®) is a drug that blocks the activity of the clotting factor called anti-Xa (anti-10-a). This causes the blood to take longer to form a clot. It can also prevent a clot from getting bigger.


Why do I need a blood thinner?


Apixaban is used to prevent stroke in patients with a heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. Apixaban can also be used to prevent or treat blood clots or for other conditions specified by your doctor.


How should I take apixaban?


The usual dose of apixaban is 5 mg, twice daily. It should be taken about 12 hours apart. Patients who are over the age of 80, have lower body weight, decreased kidney function, or are taking interacting medications may require a lower dose of 2.5 mg twice daily.


Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew or crush. It may be taken with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach. Do not stop taking apixaban unless instructed by your doctor.


What happens if I miss a dose?


If you miss a dose of apixaban, take it as soon as you remember. Skip the dose if it is less than six hours until your next dose. Never double up on a dose to make up for a missed dose. Never change your dose or stop taking apixaban unless your doctor has told you to do so.  


Will I need routine blood checks?


You will not need regular blood tests to monitor apixaban. You will need to have your kidney and blood counts monitored once to twice a year. Based on the results, your rivaroxaban dose may need to be changed or the drug may need to be stopped. 


How should I store apixaban?


Apixaban should be stored at room temperature. Avoid areas of excessive heat or moisture (not in a bathroom).


Possible Side Effects of Apixaban


These are less serious side effects. Call your doctor if these symptoms persist or worsen:

  • Upset stomach
  • Low blood counts
  • Elevated liver enzymes 

Minor bleeding may also occur while on apixaban:

  • Bruising more than usual
  • Occasional nose bleeds
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding (heavier than normal)
  • Prolonged bleeding after minor cuts 

If you have any questions about whether your bleeding is a concern call your doctor. If you have a serious fall, hit your head, or if you are having any of these major bleeding side effects, call your doctor or go to the Emergency Room right away:

  • Any bleeding that lasts for more than 10 minutes
  • Red, black or tarry stool
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Severe headache or stomach ache 

Surgical, Dental, or Other Medical Procedures


Tell all members of your health care team (surgeons, dentisst, etc.) that you are taking a blood thinner. You may need to stop taking it before certain procedures. Be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you were told to stop or hold your apixaban. They may need to change you to another type of blood thinner before your procedure.


Interactions with Other Medicines


Ask your doctor or pharmacist before starting any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal products. The dose of apixaban may need to be adjusted if an interacting medicine is started.




If you think you are or may become pregnant, tell your doctor right away. It is unknown how apixaban will affect a fetus. If you become pregnant, your doctor will instruct you about your treatment options.