An FDA panel has unanimously approved a new type of blood-thinning medication, Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) to help prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat in which the heart’s two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating strongly. As a result, blood isn’t pumped completely out of them, and the trapped blood may pool and clot.

Atrial fibrillation is dangerous because of the risk that a clot may leave the heart and travel to the brain, resulting in a stroke. About 15% of strokes are a result of atrial fibrillation. AF can also lead to heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends aggressive treatment of this abnormal heart rhythm disorder, which affects about 2.2 million Americans – 3 to 5 percent of people over 65.

AF symptoms include dizziness or light-headedness, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, a racing heart and chest pains, although some people have no obvious symptoms. The best way to confirm if you have AF is to have an electrocardiogram to measure your heart’s electrical activity. Atrial fibrillation can be caused by a heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, high blood pressure or other medical problems. Heavy alcohol use, smoking, high consumption of caffeine, and use of illegal stimulants like cocaine and some prescription drugs (including decongestants and asthma medications) can also lead to atrial fibrillation.

Antiarrhythmics – prescription drugs to restore the heart’s natural rhythm – are the first line of defense against AF, along with lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising, avoiding caffeine and alcohol and adopting a heart-healthy diet. Anticoagulant drugs, also known as blood thinner medications, are frequently prescribed to thin the blood and avoid the formation of clots. If AF symptoms fail to improve with prescription medications, electric shock to restore the heart’s regular beating pattern, radiofrequency ablation (cauterization of the problem area), surgery or insertion of an atrial pacemaker may be the next approach.

The newly approved Pradaxa is the first of a novel class of anticoagulant medication which inhibits an enzyme involved in blood clotting. In clinical trials, people with atrial fibrillation taking Pradaxa had fewer strokes than those taking the commonly prescribed anticoagulant medication warfarin. Warfarin is difficult to use as patients must be monitored with periodic blood tests, and the blood thinning medication interacts negatively with many other drugs and some foods. Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Pradaxa is marketed in 75 mg and 110 mg capsules. Several American pharmaceutical companies are rushing to develop or get FDA approval for similar medications.

4 thoughts on “Positive Lupus Anticoagulant Disease

  1. Cinderlolly

    Has anyone ever had these similar symptoms? Lupus?
    My symptoms have been occurring randomly for a year or so, some longer than others:

    Hematuria (at first visible, now only detectable by urinalysis)
    Random bruising with petechiae
    My face and ears will randomly become fevered
    Chronic sinusitis
    swollen lymphnodes
    Blood and mucus in stool
    joint pain after being in a position for long periods of time
    night sweats
    low grade fever occasionally

    …I am a 22 year old female, and the only other health issues are Polycystic Ovarian Disease and ADHD (which is a recent Dx and could actually be the “lupus fog”)

    I am on adderall 10mg per day, which the symptoms were present before the medicine.

    My CBC is always fine. I am not anemic, however my new PCP recently ordered an ANA which came back positive with a titer of 1:40 which isn’t extremely high and also a Lupus Anticoagulant which I am still waiting on the results for. My TSH levels always come back euthyroid, and I do not have hemorrhoids.

    Just wondering if anyone has experienced these symptoms with Lupus?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Ruth

    Do all people diagnosed with the disease Lupus test positive to lupus anticoagulant as well?
    I know that a positive lupus anticoagulant test doesn’t mean that a person has Lupus, but i wonder if people with lupus have the lupus anticoagulant too?

    1. Anonymous

      well i have lupus and to answer your question lupus anticoagulants are often found in people who have systematic lupus erythematosus, which is also called SLE.

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