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As you learn about AFib not caused by a heart valve problem,
it’s natural to have questions. Here are some answers you may
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) not caused by a heart valve problem is also known as nonvalvular AFib (NVAF). AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. The majority of all AFib is caused by nonvalvular AFib. With NVAF, the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, quiver (fibrillate) instead of fully contracting to push the blood through the heart. The blood left in the atria can pool and clump together, increasing the risk for clots to form. If a clot breaks loose and travels to the brain, blocking or limiting blood flow, it can cause a stroke.
AFib not caused by a heart valve problem results in 5 times greater risk of stroke. It is the cause of 15% of strokes. Watch a short video to see how AFib can lead to a stroke. If you have AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, talk to your doctor about treatment options that can help reduce the risk of stroke.
The symptoms of nonvalvular AFib are not always the same. Some people don’t feel any symptoms at all. Some of the common symptoms people experience include heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fatigue. Whether you experience symptoms or not, you’re still at a greater risk of stroke from AFib not caused by a heart valve problem.
An anticoagulant is a type of blood thinner that may be prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem. Anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding, which can be serious.
It was estimated that in 2020, about 8.5 million people in the U.S. would have the type of AFib that is not caused by a heart valve problem.
Dr. Why Explains Who Is at Risk for AFib
In most cases, AFib not caused by a heart valve problem is a chronic condition. That means it won't go away on its own. However, if you have AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, there are medicines that can help reduce the risk of stroke, such as blood thinners. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting exercise are also good habits to get into for any condition. Talk to your doctor about diet and exercise or about any other activities you should modify, and ask if a blood thinner is right for you.
Get tips for a heart-healthy diet from the American Heart Association.
If someone you know has AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, it is important that they talk to their doctor about taking medication to help them reduce the risk of stroke. But since AFib is usually a chronic condition, they may also need advice, encouragement, and support. Here are some of the ways you can help:
Start by learning more about AFib—Knowing more about it will not only help you understand what they are dealing with but also help you offer them informed support.
Be of assistance on doctor visits—Regular physician follow-ups are one of the most important steps a person with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem can take. If the person you’re helping would like to speak to their doctor about ELIQUIS, you can download our guide, which has some questions you may want to discuss with their doctor.
Follow doctor’s recommendations—
If someone you know is taking ELIQUIS, it’s extremely important that they take it as prescribed by their doctor. They should not change their dose or stop taking ELIQUIS unless their doctor told them to. Stopping ELIQUIS increases their risk of having a stroke.
Help with coverage assistance—Finding answers to questions about insurance coverage usually involves a few phone calls and a lot of paperwork. You can help with both. Start by calling to talk to a live agent who can contact the insurance company to verify benefits, determine if ELIQUIS is covered, and assist with prior authorizations and formulary exception requests.
Lead by example—Chances are, a person with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem will be much more willing to take care of themselves—by eating well, keeping a regular schedule, meditating, taking a walk, etc.—if he or she is around another person who also leads a healthy lifestyle.
If you or someone you know has AFib, make sure you know the signs of stroke really
well—knowing these can help you act fast and get immediate medical attention.
Remember, stroke is a medical emergency.
If you notice any of the signs listed below, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Note the time when the signs first begin. This information is important for the doctor to know.
Personalize a list of questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment.
View a video explaining how ELIQUIS works to help reduce risk of blood clots and stroke.
Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the doctor who prescribed it to you
For patients taking ELIQUIS for atrial fibrillation: stopping ELIQUIS increases your risk of having a stroke.
Talk to your healthcare team before any medical procedures. ELIQUIS may need to be stopped before surgery, or a medical or dental procedure. Your doctor will tell you when you should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help prevent a blood clot from forming.
What are the possible serious side effects of ELIQUIS?
This is a list of some of the serious side effects of ELIQUIS.
ELIQUIS can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood thinner medicine that reduces blood clotting. While taking ELIQUIS, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop.
You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take ELIQUIS with other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, such as:
Tell your doctor if you take any of these medicines.
Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms of bleeding when taking ELIQUIS:
People who take ELIQUIS, and have medicine injected into their spinal or epidural area, or have a spinal puncture, have a risk of forming a blood clot that can cause long-term or permanent loss of the ability to move (paralysis).
Your risk of developing a spinal or epidural blood clot is higher if:
If you take ELIQUIS and receive spinal anesthesia or a spinal puncture, your doctor should watch you closely for symptoms of spinal or epidural blood clots
Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms (especially in your legs and feet) when taking ELIQUIS:
A reaction to ELIQUIS itself
A reaction to ELIQUIS can cause hives, rash, itching, and possibly trouble breathing. If you get this reaction, it will usually happen soon after you take a dose of ELIQUIS.
Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
Talk to your doctor about any side effect that may be bothering you or that does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of ELIQUIS. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You are encouraged to report any side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Who should not take ELIQUIS?
ELIQUIS is not for patients who:
What should I discuss with my healthcare team before starting ELIQUIS?
Talk to your healthcare team about the following:
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed. You and your doctor should decide if you will take ELIQUIS or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Tell your healthcare team about all of the medications you are taking, including:
During treatment, make sure you talk to your healthcare team before you begin to take any new medication.
How should I take ELIQUIS?
Take ELIQUIS exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Do not change your dose or stop taking ELIQUIS unless your doctor tells you to.
What if I miss a dose of ELIQUIS?
If you miss a dose of ELIQUIS, take it as soon as you remember, and do not take more than one dose at the same time.
When should I refill my prescription?
If you are taking ELIQUIS for atrial fibrillation, stopping ELIQUIS may increase your risk of having a stroke. Do not run out of ELIQUIS. Refill your prescription before you run out. When leaving the hospital following hip or knee replacement, be sure that you will have ELIQUIS available to avoid missing any doses.
ELIQUIS is available in two different tablets. Your doctor or healthcare provider will determine what dose is right for you.
2.5 mg tablet
Round, with a pale yellow color
5 mg tablet
Oval, with a pale orange or pink color
Note: Images do not represent actual tablet size.
On one side of each tablet,there is a number indicating the dosage strength of the tablet (in milligrams). On the other side, there is a medication identification number.
What is ELIQUIS?
ELIQUIS is a prescription medicine used to:
Reduce the risk of stroke and
a type of irregular heartbeat, not
caused by a heart valve problem.
Treat blood clots in the veins
(pulmonary embolism – PE), and reduce
the risk of them occurring again.
Reduce the risk of forming a blood clot in the legs (DVT) and lungs (PE) of people
who have just had hip or knee replacement surgery.
LOVENOX® is a registered trademark of Aventis Pharma S.A.
The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may have different product labeling in different countries.
The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a healthcare provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call
For people taking ELIQUIS® (apixaban) for atrial fibrillation: Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the doctor who prescribed it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS increases your risk of having a stroke.
ELIQUIS may need to be stopped prior to surgery or a medical or dental procedure. Your doctor will tell you when you should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS, your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help prevent a blood clot from forming.
ELIQUIS can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood thinner medicine that reduces blood clotting.
You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take ELIQUIS and take other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (called NSAIDs), warfarin (COUMADIN®), heparin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and other medicines to help prevent or treat blood clots. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.