The FDA evaluated new information about the risk of serious bleeding associated with use of the anticoagulants (blood thinners) dabigatran (Pradaxa) and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven, and generics). This assessment was done using insurance claims and administrative data from FDA’s Mini-Sentinel pilot of the Sentinel Initiative. The results of this assessment indicate that bleeding rates associated with new use of Pradaxa do not appear to be higher than bleeding rates associated with new use of warfarin, which is consistent with observations from the large clinical trial used to approve Pradaxa (the RE-LY trial). FDA is continuing to evaluate multiple sources of data in the ongoing safety review of this issue. See the Data Summary in the 11/02/2012 Drug Safety Communication below for additional information.
FDA has not changed its recommendations regarding Pradaxa. Pradaxa provides an important health benefit when used as directed. Healthcare professionals who prescribe Pradaxa should carefully follow the dosing recommendations in the drug label, especially for patients with renal impairment (when kidneys don’t function normally) to reduce the risk of bleeding. Patients with atrial fibrillation should not stop taking Pradaxa without first talking to their healthcare professional. Stopping use of anticoagulant medications such as Pradaxa can increase the risk of stroke. Strokes can lead to permanent disability and death.