Tuesday, November 26, 2013


student nurses, clinical practice tip, coumadin, pradaxa, anti-coagulants, renee thompson, rtconnections

The media sometimes snookers even nurses when it comes to new drugs. The fancy ads, testimonials by “doctors” on commercials and even patients can influence our opinions. However, be warned…as a new nurse, it’s so important that you first do a bit of fact finding before you buy into the latest new miracle drug.
Dabigatran (Pradaxa) seems like a wonder drug, right? It has the same effect as Warfarin (Coumadin) but without the need for weekly blood work. However, don’t throw Warfarin out the window yet! 

There are important differences between these two anti-coagulants that nurses need to understand to help patients make good decisions.


They are both direct thrombin inhibitors indicated for patients with Afib and stroke.


Costs: Warfarin costs approximately $4 per month. Dabigatran costs $305 and not all insurance companies cover this drug.

Indications: Dabigatran is NOT approved for use in patients with a mechanical heart valve. These patients still need Warfarin.
Antidote: We know that Vitamin K is the antidote for Coumadin. But as of right now, there is no antidote for Dabigatran. This drug lasts approximately 12 hours in the body (twice a day dosing). If a patient is bleeding, he or she needs to wait it out.
Dietary restrictions: Because Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, patients on Warfarin need to eat these foods consistently (not eliminate!) to assure consistent levels. Patients on Dabigatran do not have any dietary restrictions.
It is so important that you understand new drugs from a clinical perspective and not be lured by the media.  Nurses can help guide patients through the decision making process when drugs like Dabigtran and others are released in the market.  Nurses are the best at helping patients make good and informed decisions about their care.
Remember – Knowledge is power!

I hope you found this tip helpful. Thanks for reading and choosing to become a nurse! I'm cheering for your success.

Take care and stay connected

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