Tens of thousands of Americans take the blood thinner Apixaban, more commonly known by the brand name Eliquis. People who take Eliquis do so because of various problems that lead to dangerous blood clots.
In September, my daughter had surgery to remove a brain tumor. Less than a week later, she noticed that her legs were swelling and they really hurt. Upon examination, it was found that she had developed some blood clots as a result of her surgery. She was quickly placed on a blood thinner. In her case, she was placed on Xarelto, but many others in similar conditions are prescribed Eliquis. Other uses for Eliquis include:
Apixaban is used to prevent serious blood clots from forming due to a certain irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) or after hip/knee replacement surgery. With atrial fibrillation, part of the heart does not beat the way it should. This can lead to blood clots forming, which can travel to other parts of your body (such as the lungs or legs) or increase your risk for stroke. In the United States, apixaban is also approved to treat certain types of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis-DVT, pulmonary embolus-PE) and to prevent them from forming again.
Apixaban is an anticoagulant that works by blocking certain clotting proteins in your blood.
Eliquis is taken orally with or without food. Generally, doctors prescribe taking Eliquis twice a day, 12-hours apart, depending on the patient’s age, medical condition, weight and kidney function. Like most blood thinners, side effects of taking Eliquis include serious bleeding, nausea and easy bruising.
Like so many other name brand drugs, Eliquis is not cheap. According to one Drugs.com:
This Eliquis price guide is based on using the Drugs.com discount card which is accepted at most U.S. pharmacies. The cost for Eliquis oral tablet 2.5 mg is around $473 for a supply of 60 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans.
Eliquis is available as a brand name drug only, a generic version is not yet available.
That $473 is for a supply of 60 tablets, which is only a 30-day supply. Note that this is the price with their discount card, meaning the cost without the discount drug is even higher for just a 1 month supply. Also note that it states that a generic version is not yet available.
That is about to change, thanks to the FDA, as reported:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two applications for the first generics of Eliquis (apixaban) tablets to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Apixaban is also indicated for the prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may lead to pulmonary embolism (PE), in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery. Additionally, apixaban is indicated for the treatment of DVT and PE and for the reduction in the risk of recurrent DVT and PE following initial therapy.
“Today’s approvals of the first generics of apixaban are an example of how the FDA’s generic drug program improves access to lower-cost, safe and high-quality medicines,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “These approvals mark the first generic approvals of a direct oral anticoagulant. Direct oral anticoagulants (blood thinners) do not require repeated blood testing.”
This is great news for those who need the expensive drug to avoid deadly strokes, deep vein thrombosis, or fatal clots in the heart or lungs. Now if only the FDA will approve generic versions for many other expensive vital medications like insulin, EpiPens and similar life saving drugs. That would help many thousands of Americans survive day-to-day, medically and financially.