Are there any foods to avoid while taking apixaban?

Are there any foods to avoid while taking apixaban?

 · 6 min read

Apixaban is a common blood-thinning medication. It controls how the blood flows through your body, and it is essential to understand how to take this drug safely. For many patients, lifestyle changes are necessary to make sure this apixaban can do its job.

  • Patients take apixaban if there is a higher risk of strokes or deep vein thrombosis after an operation.
  • One of the main side effects of apixaban is bleeding easier.
  • It can help to avoid foods high in vitamin K and alcoholic drinks.
  • Understanding how to take apixaban safely can reduce uncomfortable side effects.

Foods to avoid with apixaban: FAQS

  • What is the usual dosage of apixaban?

    Apixaban is available on prescription only as a tablet, and patients usually take it twice daily. It comes in 2.5mg and 5mg tablets.

  • What foods help with anaemia?

    Many patients may experience heavy periods or bleeding while taking apixaban, which can lead to anaemia. Foods high in iron and other nutrients can help with anaemia, such as legumes, liver and beef.

    Talk to your doctor about any supplements or foods that could help with the side effects of apixaban.

  • Do you take apixaban with food?

    You can take apixaban with or without food. You will receive guidance from your healthcare provider about any specific timings that can help this medication work.

    Do not stop taking this medication unless told to do so by a healthcare professional.

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There are no specific foods or drinks to avoid while taking apixaban. However, it is vital to understand how certain supplements, lifestyle habits, and foods can improve your experience of taking this medication.

There are also some drug interactions to take into consideration. Although apixaban is a common medication, there are a few serious side effects that you can ease by sticking to a lifestyle or dietary plan throughout your treatment.

What is apixaban?

Apixaban, often known by its brand name, Eliquis, is a common anticoagulant. This means it thins the blood, making it easier for blood to flow through the veins, and reducing the risk of a blood clot.

Doctors typically describe apixaban if you're at risk of a stroke or heart attack, often because you are in a specific risk category or are already suffering from heart disease.

Some patients also take apixaban to prevent blood clots in the leg, known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. It can also prevent a blood clot in the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism.

Those who have an abnormal heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) or who have had hip or knee replacement surgery also take this medication to avoid DVT or reduce the risk of a blood clot.

Apixaban blocks the effects of factor Xa (FXa), an enzyme in the body that causes the formation of substances that cause blood clots. Due to this, apixaban makes the blood less likely to clot, reducing the risk of a heart attack, DVT and other life-threatening issues.

Side effects of apixaban

There are a few common side effects of apixaban. For example, you might experience tiredness and a lack of energy while taking this medication and appear paler than usual.

For some, apixaban also causes shortness of breath and noticeable heart palpitations.

The risk of bleeding more easily than usual is one of the main side effects of apixaban, including:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Heavy periods
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bruising

Due to the ability to bleed easier than usual, you may develop anaemia while taking this medication.

In fact, the side effects of tiredness and energy loss are common symptoms of anaemia. Therefore, it is essential to discuss the possibility of developing anaemia with your doctor to understand how to manage it.

You can reduce the risk of bleeding by taking extra care while using this medication. For example, some healthcare professionals warn against playing contact sports or engaging in activities that cause bruising or injuries. Even if these sports may not cause a severe injury, even relatively innocuous bruises or cuts are more dangerous while taking apixaban.

If you enjoy contact or high impact sports, try to take less impactful exercise, such as walking, while taking this medication.

You should also carry your anticoagulant alert card with you all the time. This tells a healthcare professional that you are taking blood-thinning medication and could be at risk of bleeding. You should also advise your dentist you're using this medication before undergoing any dental procedures.

Drug interactions with apixaban

There are various drug interactions with this common medication. Therefore, it is vital to discuss underlying medical conditions or treatments with a healthcare professional before taking these blood thinners.

Common medication interactions with apixaban include:

  • Drugs that treat fungal infections, such as ketoconazole or erythromycin
  • Epilepsy medication, including carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen
  • Antiplatelet medicine, such as clopidogrel
  • Other anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin), dabigatran (Pradaxa) and heparin

It is vital to avoid antiplatelet medications. Platelets are required as clotting factors in the blood. However, such medicines can increase your risk of bleeding while taking apixaban.

Pregnant women should not take apixaban, and women who become pregnant while taking the drug can also be at risk. In addition, those who have a spinal tap or epidural are at risk of a blood clot around the spinal cord while taking this medication.

It is also essential to speak with a healthcare provider about any previous allergic reactions to this medication before starting a prescription.

Unlike other strong medications, you do not need regular blood tests while taking apixaban. However, it is important to attend any scheduled INR tests to monitor this blood-thinning medicine and check that it is doing its job.

Herbal remedies and vitamins

Many people use herbal remedies as a natural treatment for mental and physical health conditions. However, there is very little medical research about these remedies, and it is vital to understand how they might affect apixaban.

You should avoid St. John’s Wort while taking apixaban, as this herbal remedy can worsen the side effects of this medication.

There is also some evidence to suggest that vitamin K interacts adversely with apixaban in your body. This is because vitamin K supplements or foods high in vitamin K can thicken the blood. Apixaban thins the blood and dissolves blood clots, so you should avoid foods rich in vitamin K to let apixaban do its job.

These foods include Brussels sprouts, spinach, green tea, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice also contains compounds that can offset the work of blood thinners, which can lead to an increase in bleeding for some patients.

As well as apixaban, these foods can also lessen the effectiveness of other blood thinners like rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and Brilinta.

Speak to a doctor about these vitamins and herbal remedies before taking apixaban to understand what to avoid.

Alcohol and apixaban

It is safe to drink alcohol and take apixaban, but this should be limited to no more than 14 units per week.

Binge drinking or heavy drinking can increase the effect of apixaban on your body. While this might sound positive, it means you can bleed easier, potentially making minor injuries or bruises more dangerous.

It is best to avoid alcohol to alleviate some of the nasty side effects of this drug and maintain a good quality of life.

Understanding how to stay safe while taking apixaban

It is crucial to understand how to take apixaban, including common drug interactions and lifestyle changes that can improve your experience of this medication.

The risk of bleeding means you should limit lifestyle habits that involve bruising or injury, like playing contact sports. There are also some food and drink items to avoid to improve how this medication works in your body. This will reduce the risk of experiencing severe side effects while taking apixaban.

If you're already struggling with the side effects of this medication, it is crucial to make the necessary lifestyle and diet changes.

Discuss any herbal remedies or supplements with your doctor before taking this medication, and follow any dietary or lifestyle advice you receive.

Eleanor Jones
Eleanor Jones
Eleanor joined Health Times in 2022 and is an experienced health and lifestyle writer.
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