Eliquis (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.
Do not stop taking apixaban unless directed by your doctor. If you stop taking this medication early, you have a higher risk of forming a serious blood clot (such as a stroke, blood clot in the legs/lungs). Your doctor may direct you to take a different "blood thinning" or antiplatelet medication to reduce your risk. Get medical help right away if you have weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, sudden vision changes, confusion, chest pain, trouble breathing, pain/warmth/swelling in the legs.
People taking this medication may bleed near the spinal cord after certain spinal procedures. Bleeding in this area can cause paralysis that lasts a long time or could become permanent. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks before any spinal procedure. The risk of bleeding may be higher if you have a deformed spine, or have had spinal procedures/surgery before (such as epidural catheter placement, difficult epidural/spinal puncture), or are taking other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as warfarin/enoxaparin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs such as ibuprofen). Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as back pain, leg numbness/tingling/weakness, loss of control of the bowels or bladder (incontinence).