Eliquis (apixaban) is a prescription drug that treats or helps prevent blood clots in certain situations. Eliquis can cause side effects that range from mild to serious. Examples include nausea and bleeding.
Eliquis is used in adults to treat or prevent certain blood clots. Examples of the blood clots the drug treats include:
It’s also used to prevent blood clots and stroke in people with a certain kind of atrial fibrillation.
The active ingredient in Eliquis is apixaban. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) The drug comes as a tablet that you swallow. Your doctor may refer to Eliquis as a blood thinner.
Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects (also called adverse effects) that Eliquis can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.
Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during their Eliquis treatment. Examples of commonly reported side effects of Eliquis include:
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Eliquis include:
- anemia (low red blood cell level)
- thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets, a kind of blood cell that helps form blood clots)
- mild allergic reaction*
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop taking Eliquis unless your doctor recommends it.
Eliquis may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Eliquis, visit MedWatch.
Mild side effects are common in people taking Eliquis. But it’s also possible to develop serious side effects from this medication. Serious side effects that have been reported with Eliquis include:
- serious bleeding
- risk of blood clots if stopping Eliquis treatment early*
- risk of spinal blood clots from certain spinal procedures*
- severe allergic reaction†
* Eliquis has a
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Eliquis, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Get answers to some frequently asked questions about the side effects of Eliquis.
Do older people have a higher risk of side effects from Eliquis?
No, older people do not seem to have a higher risk of side effects from Eliquis than younger people.
In studies, the majority of people taking Eliquis were ages 65 years and older. The studies did not find an increased risk of Eliquis side effects in older people when compared with younger people.
But older people are more likely to have medical conditions than younger people. Having certain medical conditions may increase the risk of side effects from taking Eliquis. For more information, see the “Warnings for Eliquis” section below.
If you have questions about your risk of side effects from Eliquis, ask your doctor.
Am I at higher risk of side effects if I take the 5-mg strength of Eliquis?
Yes, you may be at a higher risk of side effects if you take a higher strength of Eliquis.
The drug is available in strengths of 2.5 milligrams (mg) and 5 mg. You’ll take Eliquis twice per day. But depending on the dosage your doctor prescribes for your condition, you may take as much as 20 mg per day.
If you’re concerned about side effects that you may have while taking a higher dosage of Eliquis, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can discuss your risk of side effects with you.
Can stopping Eliquis treatment suddenly cause side effects, such as withdrawal symptoms?
No, you shouldn’t experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Eliquis suddenly. (Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on.) But stopping Eliquis treatment suddenly can increase your risk of blood clots.
In fact, Eliquis has a
You shouldn’t stop taking Eliquis suddenly without talking with your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend when to stop taking the drug. If you do need to suddenly stop taking Eliquis, your doctor may suggest a different medication for your condition.
Does Eliquis cause kidney-related side effects?
It’s possible for Eliquis to cause kidney-related side effects. But kidney-related side effects were not commonly reported in studies of the drug.
In rare cases, Eliquis may cause serious bleeding. This includes bleeding in your organs, such as your kidneys.
Another rare side effect of Eliquis is blood in the urine, which could be due to a kidney-related problem.
If you’re concerned about kidney-related side effects occurring during Eliquis treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Learn more about some of the side effects Eliquis may cause.
Risk of blood clots if stopping Eliquis treatment early
Eliquis has a
Eliquis works to prevent blood clots from occurring or to treat a blood clot that you already have. But if you stop taking Eliquis before it’s recommended, you may have an increased risk of blood clots.
What might help
Do not stop taking Eliquis without first talking with your doctor. If you do need to stop treatment with Eliquis, your doctor may recommend that you take a different blood thinner. This can help to prevent blood clots.
For more information about this side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Risk of spinal blood clots from certain spinal procedures
Eliquis has a boxed warning for the risk of spinal blood clots from certain spinal procedures. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the FDA. They alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
Having certain spinal procedures during Eliquis treatment may increase the risk of blood clots in your spine. Symptoms of blood clots in your spine include:
What might help
Before having any spinal procedures done, tell your doctor that you’re taking Eliquis. They may recommend scheduling your procedure when you’ll have the least amount of Eliquis in your body. This can help decrease your risk of spinal blood clots.
Your doctor will also monitor you for symptoms of blood clots after you have a spinal procedure. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, contact your doctor or go to a hospital right away.
If you have concerns about risk of spinal blood clots during Eliquis treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
What might help
If you have nosebleeds during your treatment with Eliquis, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to treat this side effect. For example, they may recommend using saline nasal spray to help moisten your nose, which may prevent nosebleeds.
What might help
If you notice bruising during your treatment with Eliquis, talk with your doctor. If this side effect is severe or bothersome to you, your doctor may be able to recommend ways to help prevent it.
Like most drugs, Eliquis can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Symptoms can be mild to serious and can include:
- skin rash
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
- swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What might help
If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms. Examples include:
- an antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream
If your doctor confirms you’ve had a mild allergic reaction to Eliquis, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.
If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.
If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Eliquis, they may have you switch to a different treatment.
Keeping track of side effects
During your Eliquis treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.
Your side effect notes can include things such as:
- what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
- how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
- what your symptoms were
- how it affected your daily activities
- what other medications you were taking
- any other information you feel is important
Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how Eliquis affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.
Eliquis comes with several warnings, which may affect whether the drug is a good treatment for your condition.
Before you start treatment with Eliquis, tell your doctor about any medical conditions that you have. This can help them determine if the drug is a safe treatment option for you.
- Risk of blood clots if stopping Eliquis treatment early. You may have an increased risk of blood clots if you stop taking Eliquis early. It is not recommended that you stop taking this medication without first talking with your doctor.
- Risk of spinal blood clots from certain spinal procedures. If you’re taking Eliquis, you may have an increased risk of spinal blood clots after certain spinal procedures. Before you have any spinal procedures, tell your doctor that you’re taking Eliquis.
To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.
Eliquis may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These are known as drug-condition interactions. Other factors may also affect whether Eliquis is a good treatment option for you.
Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Eliquis. The list below includes factors to consider.
Artificial heart valve. It’s not known whether it’s safe for people with an artificial heart valve to take Eliquis. If you have an artificial heart valve, your doctor will likely not prescribe Eliquis. They’ll recommend a different medication to take for treating or preventing blood clots.
Upcoming surgical or dental procedures. Tell your doctor if you have any upcoming surgeries or dental procedures while you’re taking Eliquis. This medication is a blood thinner and increases your risk of bleeding. Due to this risk, your doctor may recommend stopping Eliquis at a certain time before your procedure to prevent bleeding. It’s recommended that you do not stop taking Eliquis without first talking with your doctor. They can determine the best treatment plan for you.
Bleeding disorders. This medication can increase your risk of bleeding. If you have a bleeding disorder, you may have a higher risk of bleeding with Eliquis. Before you start taking this drug, tell your doctor about any bleeding disorder you have. This can help them determine whether it’s safe for you to take Eliquis with your condition.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Eliquis or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Eliquis. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.
Triple-positive antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). People with triple-positive APS may have an increased risk of blood clots from Eliquis. Before starting Eliquis treatment, tell your doctor if you have triple-positive APS. They’ll likely recommend a medication other than Eliquis for your condition.
Kidney problems. If you have kidney problems, tell your doctor before starting Eliquis. If your kidneys aren’t working properly, this medication can build up in your body. Having too much Eliquis in your body may increase your risk of side effects. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may recommend a lower dose of Eliquis for you. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Liver problems. Eliquis can build up in your body if your liver isn’t working properly. Having too much Eliquis in your body may increase your risk of side effects. If you have liver problems, tell your doctor before you start taking this drug. This will help them determine if Eliquis may be a safe treatment option for you. In some cases, they may recommend a different medication.
Active bleeding. If you have any active bleeding, your doctor will not recommend that you start taking Eliquis. This medication can increase your risk of bleeding and may make active bleeding worse. Your doctor will recommend treating the bleeding before you start treatment with Eliquis.
Alcohol and Eliquis
There aren’t any known interactions between Eliquis and alcohol.
But alcohol can increase your risk of bleeding. Since Eliquis can also cause bleeding, drinking alcohol while taking Eliquis may further increase your risk of bleeding.
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, may be safe to consume while you’re taking Eliquis.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Eliquis
It’s not known if it may be safe to take Eliquis during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
At this time, there’s not enough information to know whether Eliquis may cause harm to a developing fetus. But it’s possible that taking Eliquis during pregnancy may increase the risk of bleeding. So Eliquis is currently not recommended for use during pregnancy.
If you’re taking Eliquis and need an epidural injection for pain relief during labor, you may have an increased risk of developing a spinal blood clot. Eliquis has a boxed warning for this risk. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information, see the “Side effects explained” section above.
It’s not known if Eliquis may be present in breast milk, or if it may affect a child who is breastfed. Because it’s not known if breastfeeding is safe while taking Eliquis, it’s currently not recommended.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor. They’ll discuss whether Eliquis may be a safe treatment option for you.
You may experience side effects during your treatment with Eliquis. Most of the drug’s side effects are mild. But it’s also possible to have serious side effects from this medication.
Before you start treatment with Eliquis, talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of this medication. Here are some questions to help get you started:
- What should I do if I become pregnant during Eliquis treatment?
- Is my risk of side effects increased due to other medications that I’m taking?
- How do the side effects of Eliquis compare with side effects of other medications used for my condition?
- Is my risk of bleeding higher when I first start Eliquis?
To learn more about Eliquis, see these articles:
- Eliquis (apixaban)
- Dosage Details for Eliquis
- Eliquis and Cost: What You Need to Know
- Eliquis Interactions: Alcohol, Medications, and Others
- Xarelto vs. Eliquis: What You Should Know
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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.