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Is Eliquis by Prescription Only?

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Eliquis (generic name: apixaban) is a prescription-only medication used to reduce the risk of blood clots in people who suffer from atrial fibrillation. As well, it is prescribed as a post-surgical medication for people who have had hip or knee replacement operations, in order to reduce the risk of blood clots forming and resulting in embolisms or strokes.

Eliquis’ main therapeutic ingredient is a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) called  apixaban, which works to block specific clotting proteins in the blood.

Eliquis is commonly used for the treatment of:

  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Blood clots resulting from atrial fibrillation resulting in strokes
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Recurrence of pulmonary embolism or DVT

Is Eliquis the First Drug-of-Choice?

A report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) found that Eliquis was the safest and most cost-effective DOAC for stroke prevention in people with symptoms of atrial fibrillation. As well, the side-effects of apixaban are less severe than the reported adverse effects of warfarin (jantoven), which can have dangerous side effects such as heavy bleeding.. 

Why Did My Doctor Prescribe Eliquis?

Eliquis is prescribed as a blood thinner (anticoagulant) to block specific clotting proteins in the blood for patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation, or deep vein thrombosis following hip or knee surgery. In the United States, Eliquis is also approved as a longer-term medication to prevent reformation of thrombosis.

Why are Blood Thinners Prescribed?

There are many conditions that can cause blood clots to form. Many of these can lead to potentially serious outcomes, ranging from risk of stroke resulting in partial paralysis, all the way through to systemic embolism in the heart that can be fatal. The usual therapy to prevent clotting is taking anticoagulants, which act as blood thinners that reduce the chance of blood clotting. Eliquis is one of the most frequently prescribed anticoagulants.

What Causes Blood to Clot?

Clotting, properly called coagulation, is an essential and natural function of the blood. For example when you scratch your skin and it starts to bleed, usually as soon as it comes into contact with the air, it will start to coagulate and the flow of blood will slow and stop, finally forming a scab so that the injury can heal underneath.

On the negative side, coagulation inside arteries and veins, which carry blood around the body, can be dangerous. Blood clots may grow in size until they form a large mass, known as a thrombosis. This can block the flow of blood through vessels, resulting in damage to the tissues further down the network due to oxygen starvation and ultimately  leading to cell death.

Why is Eliquis a Prescription-Only Medication?

The most frequent use of Eliquis is in treatment of atrial fibrillation, which shows up as an abnormal heart rhythm with irregular and rapid heartbeat. The typical cause of atrial fibrillation is that one or more heart muscles are not beating as they should. Atrial fibrillation is the most common serious heart ailment and it was reported in 2020 that more than 33 million people are affected worldwide.

Doctors usually require more than just drug remedies for patients with atrial fibrillation, because of the possibly fatal outcomes. They also prescribe lifestyle changes, and cardiac rhythm modulation followed by longer-term treatment with anticoagulants like Eliquis. By keeping Eliquis as a prescription-only medication, doctors get to supervise the whole treatment process and in this way the long-term health of their patients are better served.


Equilis is available by prescription only. Your prescribing doctor will have taken into account all of the relevant factors, including possible contraindications and side effects, when determining the right dosage specifically for you. As well the doctor has decided that any possible negative factors are outweighed by the benefits you will receive from treatment with Eliquis.


What are the other benefits of DOAC medications like Eliquis?

For many years, the anticoagulants most frequently prescribed for patients were aspirin or warfarin. Currently, there have been numerous studies that show that the DOAC class of drugs such as rivaroxaban, edoxaban, and apixaban offer significant benefits. The speed of the onset of anticoagulation makes DOACs at least as effective as warfarin for preventing strokes and blood clots, if not more so. ( DOACs carry a lower risk of bleeding in the brain compared to warfarin.

What is the recommended dosage of Eliquis?

Your doctor will prescribe the dosage that is appropriate to your condition, as well as factors such as age, body weight and more. It’s important not to take Eliquis with any form of alcohol and to take the medication according to the instructions you receive from your dispensing pharmacist.

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