Pradaxa may be a dangerous enough when it is recommended for usage by a doctor. What about when it is accidentally given to a customer by a pharmacist?
A recent entry in the National Medication Error Reporting Program (NMERP) noticed by Philly.com showed an example of when this exact situation almost occurred. Upon receiving a prescription for Pradaxa, a pharmacist reported that he initially thought the order was for Ranexa – a similarly named drug that is used to treat angina or chest pain.
While both drugs in essence could decrease the risk of a stroke in a patient, patients who take a blood thinner such as Pradaxa when they are supposed to take Ranexa could be at an even higher risk of a hemorrhage than usual.
The article also notes that a case in the NMERP showed a similar confusion between Ranexa and Prenexa, a prenatal vitamin that also has a similar name to Pradaxa. The case noted in the program detailed that a pregnant woman mistakenly took Ranexa instead of Prenexa for one year because a pharmacist misread the prescription.
While these potential mix-ups are certainly worrisome examples of why patients should always make sure to double check the medication they are receiving, they are also worrisome because of the dangers that Pradaxa can pose even when it is properly prescribed. Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2010 the anticoagulant medication has been linked to a number of adverse bleeding events, some of which have resulted in death.