Fondaparinux | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

fondaparinux, Injectable solution

All Brands

  • Arixtra
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for fondaparinux

Injectable solution
1

Fondaparinux is used to prevent blood clots from forming in the deep veins of your arms and legs (deep vein thrombosis) after you have had surgery. It’s also used to treat deep vein thrombosis and blood clots that move to your lungs (pulmonary embolism).

2

This drug comes as an injection you give yourself under your skin. The first injection is usually given in a hospital by a healthcare provider. They will show you how to give it to yourself.

3

Fondaparinux is available as the brand-name drug Arixtra. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include injection site reactions, such as bleeding, rash, and itching. Other common side effects include low red blood cell count (anemia), difficulty sleeping, dizziness, and low blood pressure.

5

Fondaparinux can cause severe bleeding. This drug makes it more difficult for your blood to clot. You may bruise or bleed more easily, or it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. Tell your doctor if you have bleeding, bruising, or rashes of dark red spots under your skin.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Epidural or spinal hematoma warning. People who receive this drug and have certain medical procedures on their spine are at risk of the collection of blood (hematoma) around their spine. This collection of blood can put pressure on the spine. The pressure could cause loss of movement in part of the body. This loss of movement could last a long time. It could also be permanent.

Thrombocytopenia (low platelets)

This drug can cause low platelet levels. Platelets help your blood to clot. Low platelet levels could lead to excessive bleeding or bruising. Your doctor will check your platelet levels while you take this drug.

What is fondaparinux?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as a solution that you inject under your skin. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. 

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

This drug is a used to decrease your risk of blood clots in the deep veins of your arms and legs (deep vein thrombosis) after you have certain types of surgeries. These include surgeries on your knee, hip, or stomach area (abdomen). This drug may also be used along with the drug warfarin to treat deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot that moves to your lungs (pulmonary embolism).

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called anticoagulants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by disrupting your body’s ability to form clots. It can help to prevent a blood clot from forming inside your veins. It can also stop a clot that has formed from getting larger.

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SECTION 2 of 5

fondaparinux Side Effects

Injectable solution

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of fondaparinux can include:

  • reactions at the injection site (such as bleeding, rash, and itching)

  • low red blood cell count (anemia). Symptoms can include:

    • weakness
    • paleness
    • shortness of breath
    • cold hands and feet
  • difficulty sleeping

  • dizziness

  • low blood pressure

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • swelling of your face or mouth
    • problems swallowing or breathing
  • Severe bleeding. Symptoms can include:

    • bruising more easily
    • unexpected bleeding or bleeding that lasts a long time, such as:
      • unusual bleeding from your gums
      • frequent nosebleeds
      • heavier-than-normal menstrual bleeding
    • pink- or brown-colored urine
    • dark, tarry stool (may be a sign of bleeding in the stomach)
    • coughing up blood or blood clots
    • vomiting blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • headaches
    • weakness
    • dizziness
  • Epidural or spinal hematoma. People who receive this drug and have certain medical procedures on their spine are at risk of the collection of blood (hematoma) around their spine. This collection of blood can put pressure on the spine. The pressure could cause loss of movement in part of the body. This loss of movement could last a long time. It could also be permanent. Symptoms can include:

    • tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness (especially in your legs and feet)
    • back pain
    • loss of control of your bladder or bowels (incontinence)
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Bleeding may take longer than usual to stop while you take this drug. You may also notice that you bruise or bleed more easily.

This drug can cause reactions at the injection site (such as bleeding, rash, and itching) right after you inject it.

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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fondaparinux May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable solution

Fondaparinux can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs that increase the risk of side effects

Taking fondaparinux with certain drugs raises your risk of bleeding. Examples of these drugs include:

Warfarin, ibuprofen, clopidogrel, and aspirin. These drugs already increase your risk of bleeding. Taking them with fondaparinux may further increase this risk. Talk to your doctor before using these drugs with fondaparinux.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
bleeding disorders
People with bleeding disorders

If you have abnormal bleeding, a low platelet count, or a bleeding disorder, using this drug may make these disorders worse. Talk to your healthcare provider before using this drug.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

This drug is cleared by your kidneys. If your kidneys don’t work well, this drug may build up in your body and cause more side effects (such as bleeding). Your doctor may reduce your dose, depending on how well your kidneys are working. If you have severe kidney disease, you should not use this drug.

stomach ulcers
People with stomach ulcers

If you have an ulcer or certain conditions that cause stomach bleeding, you’re at increased risk of bleeding if you take this drug.

high blood pressure
People with high blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure that’s not controlled, you’re at increased risk of bleeding if you take this drug.

stroke
People who have had a stroke

If you’ve had a stroke, you’re at increased risk of bleeding if you take this drug.

diabetic eye disease
People with diabetic eye disease

If you have an eye disease caused by diabetes, you’re at increased risk of bleeding in your eyes that could spread to your brain if you take this drug.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has not shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It’s not known if this drug passes into breast milk or causes side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this drug.

for seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor will check your kidneys before prescribing you this drug. If you have severe kidney disease, you should not use this drug.

for children
For children

This drug has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • swelling of your face, mouth, throat, or tongue
  • difficulty swallowing
  • trouble breathing 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Additionally, the packaging of this drug contains dry natural rubber. This may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to latex.

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How to Take fondaparinux (Dosage)

Injectable solution

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Deep vein thrombosis prevention

Generic: fondaparinux

Form: Injectable solution
Strengths: 10 mg/0.8 mL, 7.5 mg/0.6 mL, 5 mg/0.4 mL, 2.5 mg/0.5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The typical dose is 2.5 mg, injected under your skin once per day.
  • The length of treatment depends on the type of surgery you had.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

People who weigh less than 110 pounds (50 kg): You should not use this drug to prevent blood clots in the deep veins of your arms and legs (deep vein thrombosis). This is because you have a greater risk of bleeding. You may be able to use it to treat blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots that have moved to your lungs (pulmonary embolism).

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Generic: fondaparinux

Form: Injectable solution
Strengths: 10 mg/0.8 mL, 7.5 mg/0.6 mL, 5 mg/0.4 mL, 2.5 mg/0.5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You’ll take this drug with the drug warfarin.
  • Your dosage will be based on your weight.
  • Your doctor will determine how long you need to take this drug.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

People who weigh less than 110 pounds (50 kg): You should not use this drug to prevent blood clots in the deep veins of your arms and legs (deep vein thrombosis). This is because you have a greater risk of bleeding. You may be able to use it to treat blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots that have moved to your lungs (pulmonary embolism).

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

You may develop a blood clot or make an existing blood clot worse. This can be fatal (cause death).

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body, which could lead to serious bleeding. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • Dark, tarry stool (may be a symptom of bleeding in the stomach)
  • Bleeding anywhere from the body

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

If this drug is effective, you will not develop a clot, or the clot you currently have will go away.

This drug is used for short-term treatment.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store this drug at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is not refillable

You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

Travel

Always carry your drugs with you when you travel:

  • When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

A healthcare provider will show you how to use this drug. You inject this drug into a skin fold in the lower part of your stomach. Don’t inject this drug into muscle.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Blood cell and platelet count tests and stool occult blood tests. Your doctor may do tests to check your blood cell counts (including platelets) or stool to make sure that you aren’t bleeding too much while you take this drug.
  • Kidney function tests. Your doctor may do tests while you are taking this drug to make sure your kidneys are still working normally.

Hidden costs

If your doctor tells you to administer this at home, you may need to purchase:

  • Sterile alcohol wipes
  • A sharps container (a bin for safe disposal of used injection syringes)

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does fondaparinux Cost?

Injectable solution

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Lowest price for fondaparinux

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for fondaparinux on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 16, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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