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Some Eliquis and Xarelto Side Effects NOT in the Prescribing Info

Doctors used to rely upon warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent blood clots. Newer anticoagulants are taking over. Learn about Eliquis and Xarelto side effects.

Many health professionals (physicians, PAs, Nurse Practitioners and pharmacists) rely upon the officially FDA sanctioned prescribing information to learn about drug side effects. Electronic drug databases use the “package insert” to create their drug information resources. But sometimes adverse reactions are not discovered during the clinical trials. As a result they get left out of the official documentation. That may have been the case with Eliquis and Xarelto Side Effects described below.

Q. Approximately eighteen months ago, I started taking Xarelto for A-fib. I started having shoulder pain a short time later. After six months, my doctor switched me to Eliquis.

The shoulder pain and elbow discomfort is tolerable, but the joint and muscle pain in my knees and the burning sensation throughout the night is unbearable. I have been to a rheumatologist, and all my blood tests have come back negative. All of these symptoms didn’t start until I began the blood thinners. I am not able to sleep because of the knee pain.

Have others reported similar Eliquis and Xarelto side effects?

Eliquis and Xarelto Side Effects:

A. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixaban (Eliquis) are anticoagulant drugs. People with atrial fibrillation take such medicines to keep a clot from forming and lodging in the brain and causing a stroke.

Because these medications prevent clotting, they can lead to bleeding. The prescribing information focuses primarily on these very serious complications.

Eliquis and Xarelto Side Effects:

Based on clinical trial data the following complications are listed for these two drugs:

Eliquis Side effects:

  • Bleeding (this is the most serious adverse reaction and can be life threatening)
  • Anemia (reduced hemoglobin levels)
  • Digestive tract upset (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, indigestion) diarrhea, constipation

Uncommon Side Effects of Eliquis:

  • Bleeding in the nose, gums, eyes, rectum, hemorrhoids, urine, etc.
  • Allergic reactions (rash)
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

Xarelto Side effects:

  • Bleeding (this is the most serious adverse reaction and can be life threatening; platelets can be decreased)
  • Itching (skin rash), other allergic reactions
  • Muscle Spasms, back pain

Uncommon Side Effects of Xarelto:

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Numbness
  • Pain or burning upon urination
  • Pain in extremities

Digging Deeper into Eliquis and Xarelto Side Effects:

Back pain, arm or leg pain, muscle spasms and osteoarthritis are listed as potential side effects of Xarelto. We could not find such side effects listed in the official information on Eliquis.

We did find a few inquiries like yours on patient online bulletin boards. In addition, the FDA has received hundreds of reports of such problems linked to Eliquis in its adverse event reporting system.

The FDA now has made its FAERS (FDA Adverse Events Reporting System) more accessible to the public. Here is a link to FDA’s explanation of what this is all about.

If you launch the FAERS Public Dashboard:

You can put any drug into the FDA search engine.

In the case of Eliquis the FDA database states that it has received 24,563 total cases and 16,242 serious cases (including deaths). If you search reaction, you will discover things like “arthralgia” (arthritis-like symptoms), “pain in extremity,” “Pain,” “back pain,”

People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

Do NOT stop taking your medicine! It can be very dangerous to discontinue a blood thinner suddenly. We recently discovered some research suggesting that even stopping aspirin suddenly can lead to cardiovascular problems including heart attacks and strokes.

Please be sure to discuss this with your doctor.

Final Message:

Just because the official prescribing information does not list certain side effects does not necessarily mean the medication in question is above reproach. We have learned over the last 40 years that it can take a long time for the FDA to acknowledge an adverse drug reaction. We are grateful to visitors to this website for alerting us to unusual or unrecognized side effects. Share your own such experiences in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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