If you’re at risk for blood clots, your doctor may prescribe Brilinta for you.
It’s used to lower the risk of some heart and blood clot problems in certain adults who:
- have acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or have had a heart attack
- have ACS and have had a stent placed in one or more heart blood vessels
- have coronary artery disease and are at high risk for a stroke or heart attack, but haven’t had either in the past
- are having either an ischemic stroke (stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel) or a transient ischemic attack, which is also called a ministroke
For more information about these conditions and how Brilinta is used, see the “What is Brilinta used for?” section below.
You’ll take Brilinta tablets by mouth.
Brilinta belongs to the antiplatelet drug class. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in the same way.) Antiplatelets are a type of blood thinner. Brilinta isn’t an anticoagulant drug. To learn more about antiplatelet drugs versus anticoagulants, see this article.
Read on to learn more about Brilinta’s side effects, dosage, cost, uses, and more.
Like most drugs, Brilinta may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Brilinta may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you may be taking
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Brilinta. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Brilinta can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Brilinta’s medication guide.
Mild side effects of Brilinta that have been reported include:
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Brilinta can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Brilinta, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Brilinta that have been reported include:
- abnormally slow heart rate
- boxed warnings:*
- bleeding, which can be serious and require medical attention
- decreased effectiveness of Brilinta when it’s used with certain doses of aspirin
- allergic reaction*
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Side effect focus
Learn more about some of the side effects Brilinta may cause.
Bleeding, which can be serious and require medical attention. Certain drugs such as Brilinta work by stopping your blood from clotting normally. This means you may bruise or bleed more easily than usual while you’re taking Brilinta.
If you have a bleed, it may take longer for it to stop. You may have mild bleeds, such as nosebleeds, more often than usual. In rare cases, bleeding can be serious and may require medical attention.
What might help
Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you notice any of these symptoms while taking Brilinta:
- brown, pink, or red urine
- bloody phlegm when coughing
- red or tar-like stools
- severe bleeding (bleeding you can’t control)
- vomit that contains blood or looks like coffee grounds
You must not stop taking Brilinta without talking with your doctor first. If you have a stent and stop taking Brilinta too soon, your risk for heart attack or stroke may be increased. (Stents are tiny tubes placed in a blood vessel to allow blood flow.)
Because of the risk of bleeding, your doctor may have you stop taking Brilinta 5 days before surgery. This helps decrease your risk for bleeding during your procedure. They’ll have you start taking Brilinta again as soon as possible after your surgery.
Decreased effectiveness of Brilinta when it’s used with a daily aspirin dose greater than 100 milligrams (mg). Brilinta should be taken with aspirin. But taking more than 100 mg of aspirin per day can interfere with how well Brilinta works.
What might help
Talk with your doctor about the dose of aspirin you should take with Brilinta. Don’t take a higher dose than they recommend.
Before you start taking Brilinta, tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Make sure to mention any medications that contain aspirin, including any over-the-counter ones. And don’t start taking new medications that contain aspirin while you’re using Brilinta.
Shortness of breath
This side effect was mild in most people. But in rare cases, some people stopped taking Brilinta because of shortness of breath.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) can also occur with Brilinta use. With CSA, you may have shortness of breath, along with other breathing problems, while you sleep.
CSA wasn’t reported in studies of Brilinta. But some people who’ve taken this drug since it became available have had this side effect.
What might help
Usually, shortness of breath goes away on its own as you keep taking Brilinta. But if you have trouble breathing while you’re taking Brilinta, or if this side effect doesn’t go away, tell your doctor. Also, be sure to let them know if you have trouble breathing while you’re sleeping.
Your doctor can check to see what’s causing your lung problems. They can also determine if you should stop taking Brilinta and try a different drug for your condition.
While you’re taking Brilinta, get medical help right away if you have severe shortness of breath, or if it feels life threatening.
What might help
Diarrhea may go away on its own after a few days. If it doesn’t go away, or is bothersome to you, call your doctor. They can check to see what may be causing your symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend treatment for your diarrhea. Or, they may recommend that you stop taking Brilinta and try a different treatment for your condition.
Diarrhea is also a possible side effect if you take too much Brilinta. See the “What should be done in case of overdose?” section below for more information.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- skin rash
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Brilinta. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Brilinta. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Brilinta comes as tablets that you’ll swallow. Brilinta tablets are available in two strengths: 60 milligrams (mg) and 90 mg.
The dosage of Brilinta your doctor prescribes depends on the condition you’re taking it for and your medical history.
You’ll likely take Brilinta twice a day. And you’ll take it for as long as your doctor recommends based on your condition.
For certain conditions, your doctor may recommend that you take a loading dose of Brilinta. A loading dose is a higher dose that’s taken when you first start treatment. It’s used to get more of the drug into your body so that the drug can start working sooner.
Taking Brilinta with other drugs
Regardless of the condition it’s used for, Brilinta should be taken with aspirin.
It’s recommended that you take 75 mg to 100 mg of aspirin once per day with Brilinta.
When Brilinta is prescribed for lowering stroke risk in people having an ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a loading dose of aspirin is also given. (See the “Dosage” section just above for more information about loading doses.) To learn more about these conditions, see the “What is Brilinta used for?” section below.
Questions about taking Brilinta
Below are some commonly asked questions about Brilinta.
- What if I miss a dose of Brilinta? If you miss a dose of Brilinta, just wait until your next scheduled dose. Don’t take an extra dose to make up for missing a dose. This may increase your risk for bleeding. To help avoid missing a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone or using a medication reminder.
- Will I need to use Brilinta long term? It depends on what you’re taking Brilinta for. For example, most people use Brilinta for at least 1 year after having a stent placed. (Stents are tiny tubes placed in a blood vessel to allow blood flow.) Ask your doctor how long you’ll need to take Brilinta given your condition.
- Can Brilinta be chewed, crushed, or split? Brilinta tablets may be crushed and mixed with water. If you do that, you should drink the water mixture right away. This mixture can also be given through a nasogastric tube. If you have questions about chewing or splitting Brilinta tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Should I take Brilinta with food? You may take Brilinta with or without food.
- How long does Brilinta take to work? Brilinta starts working right away to keep your blood from clotting. Since it’s used to help preventcertain events from happening, you may not feel that it’s working. Talk with your doctor about how you can know if Brilinta is working for your condition.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Brilinta and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:
- Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
- How will Brilinta affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Brilinta.
How does Brilinta work? What’s its half-life and how long does it stay in your system?
Brilinta’s mechanism of action (how it works) is to stop your platelets from sticking together. This lowers your risk for a blood clot. Then, your risk for a serious event, such as a stroke or heart attack, is lowered.
Brilinta’s half-life is about 7 hours. A drug’s half-life is the length of time it takes for your body to clear half a dose of the drug.
In people using the drug daily, studies found Brilinta stayed in their system for about 5 days after their last dose.
What should I know about stopping Brilinta? Can it be stopped after 1 year?
You must not stop taking Brilinta without first talking with your doctor. If you have a stent, stopping Brilinta too soon may increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. (Stents are tiny tubes placed in a blood vessel to allow blood flow.)
In some cases, Brilinta may be stopped after 1 year, but it doesn’t have to be. Your doctor will tell you exactly how long you should take Brilinta for your condition.
Can I have caffeine while I’m taking Brilinta?
It’s probably safe for you to have caffeine while you’re taking Brilinta.
There’s no known interaction between caffeine and Brilinta. And one
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about caffeine and Brilinta, including how much caffeine may be safe for you.
How does Brilinta compare with Eliquis?
Brilinta and Eliquis are both prescribed to lower your risk for serious conditions, such as stroke. Both medications are usually taken twice daily. They can also cause some of the same side effects, such as increasing your risk for bleeding.
These medications also have some differences, though. For example, Eliquis may be prescribed to treat blood clots that have already formed and to help prevent new clots from forming. Brilinta is only used to help prevent clots from forming.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have more questions about how Brilinta compares with Eliquis.
Does Brilinta interact with Tylenol?
Brilinta isn’t known to interact with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Most people are able to take acetaminophen with Brilinta.
Before taking any over-the-counter medications, including Tylenol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure they’re aware that you’re taking Brilinta. They can let you know if it’s safe for you to take the additional medication.
Is Brilinta a beta-blocker?
No, Brilinta isn’t a beta-blocker.
The active drug in Brilinta is ticagrelor. It’s an antiplatelet drug. Platelets are a type of blood cell that stick together to form clots. Antiplatelets such as Brilinta work by stopping platelets from clotting.
Beta-blockers help your heart muscles relax, so your heart beats slower and with less force.
Both antiplatelets and beta-blockers may be prescribed to lower your risk for serious events such as a heart attack. Sometimes, Brilinta may be used together with a beta-blocker.
For more information about beta-blockers and Brilinta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Both medications belong to a group of drugs called antiplatelets. They can also cause some of the same side effects, such as increasing your risk for bleeding.
These medications also have some differences. For example, Plavix is usually taken once each day, while Brilinta is usually taken twice each day. They also have some different drug interactions. And Brilinta contains the active drug ticagrelor, while Plavix contains the active drug clopidogrel.
If you’d like to know about using Brilinta or Plavix, talk with your doctor. You can also check out this side-by-side comparison to learn more about the drugs’ similarities and differences.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Brilinta manufacturer’s website to see if it has support options.
Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with Brilinta include:
- your overall health
- any medical conditions you may have
- any medications you’re taking
These considerations and others are described in more detail below.
Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Brilinta, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Brilinta.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Brilinta can interact with several types of drugs. These include:
- certain antifungals, such as ketoconazole
- certain antivirals, such as ritonavir (Norvir)
- the seizure drugs phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- the antibiotics clarithromycin and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
- opioids, such as morphine (MS Contin) and hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- the cholesterol-lowering drugs simvastatin (Zocor) and lovastatin (Altoprev)
- the heart medication digoxin (Lanoxin)
- drugs that may increase your risk for bleeding, such as ibuprofen
This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Brilinta. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about all interactions that may occur when taking Brilinta.
Brilinta may also interact with some foods.
Foods to avoid while taking Brilinta
You may need to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while you’re taking Brilinta. Grapefruit can stop your body from breaking down Brilinta. This can increase levels of Brilinta in your blood, which can increase your risk for bleeding.
Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you’re taking Brilinta.
Boxed warnings include:
- Bleeding, which can be serious and require medical attention. Drugs such as Brilinta work by stopping your blood from clotting normally. This means you may bruise or bleed more easily while taking Brilinta. If you have a bleed, it may take longer for it to stop. You may have mild bleeds, such as nosebleeds, more often than usual. In rare cases, this bleeding can be serious and may require medical attention.
- Decreased effectiveness of Brilinta when it’s used with a daily aspirin dose above 100 milligrams (mg). Brilinta should be taken with aspirin. But more than 100 mg of aspirin per day can interfere with how well Brilinta works.
For more information, see the “What are Brilinta’s side effects?” section above.
Brilinta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Brilinta. Factors to consider include those in the list below.
- Current bleed. You must not use Brilinta if you currently have a bleed, including bleeding from a peptic ulcer. Because Brilinta helps prevent your blood from clotting, it can worsen an active bleed. Be sure your doctor is aware if you have a current bleed before you take Brilinta. They’ll want to treat your bleed before having you start this drug.
- History of bleeding inside your head. You must not take Brilinta if you’ve had bleeding inside your head. Brilinta increases your risk for having bleeding again. Your doctor will recommend a safer treatment for your condition instead.
- Breathing problems. Shortness of breath is a possible side effect of Brilinta. If you already have breathing problems, taking Brilinta could make your symptoms worse. Your doctor can determine if Brilinta is safe to take if you have breathing problems. These include conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Heart rate problems, such as slow heart rate. Taking Brilinta may cause slow heart rate. If you already have problems with your heart rate, Brilinta may make your condition worse. Ask your doctor if Brilinta is safe for you to take if you have heart rate problems.
- Severe liver problems. Brilinta is not recommended for people with severe liver problems. Your body uses your liver to break down and get rid of Brilinta. Having severe liver problems could prevent your body from doing so. This can increase your risk for side effects, such as bleeding. Your doctor will likely recommend a safer treatment for your condition.
- Surgery. Brilinta can increase your risk for bleeding. If you need to have surgery or another medical procedure, your doctor will have you stop taking the drug before your surgery date. This helps decrease your risk for bleeding during your procedure. Your doctor will have you start taking Brilinta again as soon as possible after your surgery. Your doctor can tell you more about how long you’ll be off Brilinta before surgery.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Brilinta or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Brilinta. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
Brilinta and alcohol
Talk with your doctor before drinking alcohol while you’re taking Brilinta.
Both Brilinta and alcohol can increase your risk for bleeding. If taken together, your risk for serious bleeding may be increased.
Your doctor can tell you how much, if any, alcohol is safe to consume while you’re taking Brilinta.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Here’s some information about Brilinta use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Use during pregnancy
It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Brilinta while pregnant. There haven’t been studies of the drug in pregnant people.
Talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant before you take Brilinta.
Use while breastfeeding
It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Brilinta while breastfeeding. It’s not known if the drug passes into breast milk, or if it could cause side effects in a child who’s breastfed.
Ask your doctor about safe ways to feed your child if you’re taking Brilinta. They may recommend a medication other than Brilinta for you.
If you’re at risk for blood clots, your doctor may prescribe Brilinta for you.
It’s used to lower the risk of some heart and blood clot problems in certain adults who:
- Have acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or have had a heart attack. With ACS, you have certain problems that limit blood flow to your heart. For this use, the drug is given to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death due to a heart problem.
- Have ACS and have had a stent placed in one or more heart blood vessels. A stent is a tiny tube placed in a blood vessel to allow blood flow. For this use, the drug is given to reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Have coronary artery disease (CAD) and are at high risk for a stroke or heart attack, but haven’t had either in the past. With CAD, you have limited blood flow to the arteries in your heart. For this use, the drug is given to reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke. Factors that can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke include having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or being inactive.
- Are having either an ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel) or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is also called a ministroke. With TIA, you have a temporary blockage of blood flow to your brain. For this use, the drug is given to reduce the risk of stroke or death from a stroke.
Brilinta is a type of antiplatelet drug. Platelets are a type of blood cell that stick together to form clots. Antiplatelets such as Brilinta stop your platelets from sticking together, which lowers your risk for a blood clot. This can lower your risk for serious events, including a stroke or heart attack.
Note: Brilinta may also be used off-label for other conditions. With off-label use, a drug that’s approved for certain conditions is used for another condition. Talk with your doctor for more information.
Brilinta and Effient are similar medications. But they have some differences as well.
These medications also have some differences. For example, Effient is usually taken once each day, while Brilinta is taken twice each day.
Effient is usually only prescribed to people who are getting a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). PCI is used to open arteries in your heart that are blocked. Brilinta may be prescribed whether or not you have a PCI procedure.
To learn more about these drugs, see this detailed breakdown. Talk with your doctor about which drug is right for your condition.
Don’t take more Brilinta than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
What to do in case you take too much Brilinta
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Brilinta. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you’re at risk for blood clots, your doctor may prescribe Brilinta for you. It’s prescribed to lower the risk of some heart and blood clot problems in certain adults.
If you have questions about using Brilinta, talk with your doctor.
You may want to ask your doctor about other treatments for these conditions. Below are a few articles you may find helpful:
- Heart Attack Medications
- What to Do After Surviving a Heart Attack
- What to Know About Treating Coronary Artery Disease
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Alternative Treatments
- Stroke Treatments
You may also want to consider signing up for Healthline’s newsletter for current information about heart health.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask your doctor about Brilinta:
- What should I do if I develop a cough while taking Brilinta?
- Are my other heart medications safe to take with Brilinta?
- How long will I need to take Brilinta?
Brilinta increases the level of lovastatin in your blood. Taking lovastatin with Brilinta can increase your risk for statin-related side effects, such as muscle pain. (Keep in mind that lovastatin belongs to a group of drugs called statins.)
You should avoid taking more than 40 milligrams (mg) per day of lovastatin while you’re taking Brilinta. If you need to take these drugs together, your doctor will recommend the dosage of lovastatin that’s right for you.
If you’re already taking a statin, be sure to talk with your doctor about any necessary changes to your treatment plan once you start Brilinta.Amber Watson, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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 another 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.