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Title: Dabigatran  
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Subject: Discovery and development of direct thrombin inhibitors, Boehringer Ingelheim, List of drugs: D-Dd, Amidines, Option grid
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Dabigatran etexilate
Systematic (IUPAC) name
Ethyl N-[(2-{[(4-{N‍ '​-[(hexyloxy)carbonyl]carbamimidoyl}phenyl)amino]methyl}-1-methyl-1H-benzimidazol-5-yl)carbonyl]-N-2-pyridinyl-β-alaninate
Clinical data
Trade names Pradaxa, Pradax, Prazaxa
Licence data EMA:, US FDA:
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Legal status
Routes of
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 3–7%[1]
Protein binding 35%[1]
Biological half-life 12–17 hours[1]
CAS Registry Number  N
ATC code B01
PubChem CID:
DrugBank  YesY
ChemSpider  YesY
Chemical data
Formula C34H41N7O5
Molecular mass 627.734 g/mol

Dabigatran (Pradaxa in Australia, Canada, Europe and USA, Prazaxa in Japan) is an oral anticoagulant from the class of the direct thrombin inhibitors. It is being studied for various clinical indications and in some cases it offers an alternative to warfarin as the preferred orally administered anticoagulant ("blood thinner") since it cannot be monitored by blood tests for international normalized ratio (INR) monitoring while offering similar results in terms of efficacy. There was no specific way to reverse the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran in the event of a major bleeding event at first,[2][3] unlike warfarin.[4] A dabigatran antidote (pINN: idarucizumab) has been approved by the FDA in 2015.[5] It was developed by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim.


  • Medical uses 1
  • Contraindications 2
  • Adverse effects 3
  • Pharmacokinetics 4
  • History 5
  • Research 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Medical uses

Dabigatran is used to prevent strokes in those with atrial fibrillation (afib) due to non heart valve causes, as well as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in persons who have been treated for 5–10 days with parenteral anticoagulant (usually low molecular weight heparin), and to prevent DVT and PE in some circumstances.[6]

It appears to be as effective as warfarin in preventing nonhemorrhagic strokes and embolic events in those with afib not due to valve problems.[7]


Dabigatran is contraindicated in patients who have active pathological bleeding since dabigatran can increase bleeding risk and can also cause serious and potentially life-threatening bleeds.[8] Dabigatran is also contraindicated in patients who have a history of serious hypersensitivity reaction to dabigatran (e.g. anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock).[8] The use of dabigatran should also be avoided in patients with mechanical prosthetic heart valve due to the increased risk of thromboembolic events (e.g. valve thrombosis, stroke, and myocardial infarction) and major bleeding associated with dabigatran in this population.[8][9][10]

Adverse effects

The most commonly reported side effect of dabigatran is GI upset. When compared to people anticoagulated with warfarin, patients taking dabigatran had fewer life-threatening bleeds, fewer minor and major bleeds, including intracranial bleeds, but the rate of GI bleeding was significantly higher. Dabigatran capsules contain tartaric acid, which lowers the gastric pH and is required for adequate absorption. The lower pH has previously been associated with dyspepsia; some hypothesize that this plays a role in the increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.[11]

A small but significantly increased risk of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) has been noted when combining the safety outcome data from multiple trials.[12]

Reduced doses should be used in those with poor kidney function.[13]


Dabigatran has a half-life of approximately 12-14 h and exert a maximum anticoagulation effect within 2-3 h after ingestion.[14] Fatty foods delay the absorption of dabigatran, although the bio-availability of the drug is unaffected.[1] One study showed that absorption may be moderately decreased if taken with a proton pump inhibitor.[15] Drug excretion through P-glycoprotein pumps is slowed in patients taking strong p-glycoprotein pump inhibitors such as quinidine, verapamil, and amiodarone, thus raising plasma levels of dabigatran.[16]


Dabigatran (then compound BIBR 953) was discovered from a panel of chemicals with similar structure to benzamidine-based thrombin inhibitor α-NAPAP (N-alpha-(2-naphthylsulfonylglycyl)-4-amidinophenylalanine piperidide), which had been known since the 1980s as a powerful inhibitor of various serine proteases, specifically thrombin, but also trypsin. Addition of ethyl ester and hexyloxycarbonyl carbamide hydrophobic side chains led to the orally absorbed prodrug, BIBR 1048 (dabigatran etexilate).[17]

On March 18, 2008, the European Medicines Agency granted marketing authorisation for Pradaxa for the prevention of thromboembolic disease following hip or knee replacement surgery and for non-valvular atrial fibrillation.[18]

The National Health Service in Britain authorised the use of dabigatran for use in preventing blood clots in hip and knee surgery patients. According to a BBC article in 2008, Dabigatran was expected to cost the NHS £4.20 per day, which was similar to several other anticoagulants.[19]

Pradax received a Notice of Compliance (NOC) from Health Canada on June 10, 2008,[20] for the prevention of blood clots in patients who have undergone total hip or total knee replacement surgery. Approval for atrial fibrillation patients at risk of stroke came in October 2010.[21][22]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pradaxa on October 19, 2010, for prevention of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.[23][24][25][26] The approval came after an advisory committee recommended the drug for approval on September 20, 2010[27] although caution is still urged by some outside experts.[28]

On February 14, 2011, the American College of Cardiology Foundation and American Heart Association added dabigatran to their guidelines for management of non-valvular atrial fibrillation with a class I recommendation.[29]

In May 2014 the FDA reported the results of a large study comparing dabigatran to warfarin in 134,000 Medicare patients. The Agency concluded that dabigatran is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality, ischemic stroke, and bleeding in the brain than warfarin. Gastrointestinal bleeding was more common in those treated with dabigatran than in those treated with warfarin. The risk of heart attack was similar between the two drugs. The Agency reiterated its opinion that dabigatran's overall risk/benefit ratio is favorable.[30]

On July 26, 2014, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a series of investigations that accused Boehringer of withholding critical information about the need for monitoring to protect patients from severe bleeding, particularly in the elderly. Review of internal communications between Boehringer researchers and employees, the FDA and the EMA revealed that Boehringer researchers found evidence that serum levels of dabigatran vary widely. The BMJ investigation suggested that Boehringer had a financial motive to withhold this concern from regulatory health agencies because the data conflicted with their extensive marketing of dabigatran as an anticoagulant that does not require monitoring.[31][32]


In August 2015, an article found that idarucizumab was able to reverse the anticoagulation effects of dabigatran within minutes.[33] Idarucizumab was approved in October 2015.


  1. ^ a b c d Pradaxa Full Prescribing Information. Boehringer Ingelheim. October 2010.
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  6. ^ Pradaxa
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  8. ^ a b c Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) Prescribing Information: accessed October 29, 2014.
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  13. ^ 18/12/2014 Pradaxa -EMEA/H/C/000829 -II/0073
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Pradaxa Summary of Product Characteristics". European Medicines Agency.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Summary Basis of Decision (SBD): Pradax" Health Canada. 2008-11-06.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Pradax (Dabigatran Etexilate) Gains Approval In Canada For Stroke Prevention In Atrial Fibrillation" Medical News Today. 28 October 2010.
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External links

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