Fondaparinux: Protection Against Post-Surgical Blood Clots

Image for arixtra Fondaparinux is a blood thinner used to prevent blood clots from forming.

When a blood clot forms in a vein in the legs, it is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT can block blood flow through the vein. Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth, and a change in skin color of the affected leg. Sometimes, symptoms do not occur unless a clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism and can be fatal. People who undergo certain surgeries are at high risk of developing DVT.

When Is Fondaparinux Prescribed?

Your doctor may prescribe fondaparinux after certain types of surgery, including hip or knee replacement, hip fracture repair, or abdominal surgery. This medication may be prescribed to people who are very ill and have risk factors for blood clots. Fondaparinux may also be used along with other blood thinners to treat DVT and pulmonary embolism.

How Is Fondaparinux Given?

This medication is given as an injection under the skin.

What Are the Side Effects?

Fondaparinux can cause many side effects. Some of these include:

Who Should Not Take This Medication?

Like all blood-thinning drugs, fondaparinux can cause excessive, dangerous bleeding. The risk of bleeding is greater for certain groups of people. You will not be able to take fondaparinux if you have any of these conditions:

  • Severe kidney disease
  • Weigh less than 110 pounds
  • Active major bleeding, bacterial endocarditis (an infection that affects the heart), and thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count)

What Are the Precautions With This Medication?

If you are prescribed fondaparinux:

  • Be sure to carefully follow your doctor's instructions, especially if you are aged 75 or older. You may experience more side effects.
  • Tell your healthcare providers, including dentists, that you are taking fondaparinux.
  • Because you are taking fondaparinux, you will bleed more easily. Ask your doctor about steps that you can take to prevent injuries.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medication.

In rare cases, you may be more likely to have severe bleeding after certain procedures, including:

RESOURCES:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
https://www.nnhlbi.nih.gov
US Food & Drug Administration
https://www.fda.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

Bauer, KA, Eriksson, BI, Lassen, MR, Turpie AG, Steering Committee of the Pentasaccharide in Major Knee Surgery Study. Fondaparinux compared with enoxaparin for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after elective major knee surgery. N Engl J Med. 2001;345(18):1305-1310.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 29, 2016. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Eriksson, BI, Bauer, KA, Lassen, MR, Turpie AG, Steering Committee of the Pentasaccharide in Major Knee Surgery Study. Fondaparinux compared with enoxaparin for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after hip-fracture surgery. N Engl J Med. 2001;345(18):1298-1304.
Explore deep vein thrombosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt. Updated October 28, 2011. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Fondaparinux. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T232869/Fondaparinux. Updated March 6, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Fondaparinux sodium. Daily Med—US National Library of Medicine website. Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=49e0d7bc-3f49-849b-c77c-98682d1c0d19. Updated March 25, 2016. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Risk factors for venous thromboembolism. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 15, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Last reviewed April 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 4/11/2017

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