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What are the side effects of novel anticoagulants in treating A Fib?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Atrial fibrillation (also called A Fib) is a common heart rhythm abnormality that can result in an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. Blood thinners (or anticoagulants) are often used to help prevent blood clots that can cause an ischemic stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. While the risk is small, the main side effect of a novel anticoagulant is bleeding. This bleeding can be life threatening or could require blood transfusions. This side effect happens up to 2% of the time. Non-major bleeding has been noticed in up to 7% of people taking a novel anticoagulant. Other side effects of novel anticoagulants include nausea, anemia (in which you don't have enough red blood cells), and an increase in liver enzymes.