Compare Pradaxa vs. Heparin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Pradaxa (dabigatran)

Prescription only

Heparin

Prescription only
Prevents and treats blood clots.

Pradaxa (dabigatran) is an effective oral medicine for preventing and treating blood clots, but it can increase the risk of bleeding especially in older people and those with kidney problems.

Prevents blood clots.

Heparin is a good anticoagulant that prevents blood clots. However, you'll need to get frequent blood tests to make sure it's working well.

Upsides
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran) doesn't require regular blood tests or frequent dose changes, unlike Coumadin.
  • Works just as well as other blood thinners in lowering the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
  • In cases of accidental overdose, an antidote is available to reverse the effects of the medicine.
  • May be taken with or without food.
  • Safe to use in pregnancy and if you're breast feeding.
  • There are other medications that can help stop unexpected bleeding while taking Heparin.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Usually used in the hospital, but can be given at home too.
Downsides
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran) is not available in generic form so it can be expensive.
  • Might not be a good option for people age 75 or older and those with kidney problems due to the increased risk of bleeding.
  • Not safe to be used in people with artificial heart valves.
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran) is associated with a higher risk of stomach bleeding compared to Coumadin.
  • Might not be appropriate for people who need to take aspirin or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) regularly since it can add to the risk of bleeding.
  • You'll need to get labs/blood draws done on a regular basis to make sure the drug is working and to make sure you don't get unexpected side effects.
  • You can be at higher risk for bleeding or clotting while taking Heparin compared to other anticoagulants.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Injection
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
2possible side effects
  • Any bleeding
    11%
  • Non-major bleeding
    5%
See more detailed side effects
The Heparin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Blood clots
    • Stopping Pradaxa (dabigatran) suddenly
  • Blood clots in the spine
    • People who have done a spinal tap or had a local anesthetic medicine injected into their spine
  • Increased risk of bleeding
    • Taking other medicines that also increase bleeding risk such as NSAIDs, aspirin, or blood thinners
    • People with kidney problems
    • People age 75 or older
  • People with artificial heart valves
    • People with artificial heart valve(s)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Unusual bleeding
    • History of bleeding problems
    • Severe high blood pressure
    • Older age
  • Clotting problems
    • Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
See more detailed risks and warnings