How Does It Work?Arixtra works by inhibiting a specific clotting factor known as factor Xa. It is more selective than heparin (including both unfractionated heparin and low molecular weight heparins), which inhibits other clotting factors as well. Notably, this medication does not affect blood platelets. It is not a heparin medication.
Like other "blood thinners," Arixtra does not break down clots. Instead, it slows down clot formation, giving the body a chance to break down the clots naturally.
Can Children Use It?Arixtra is not approved for use in children. This does not mean that children absolutely cannot take Arixtra; it just means that this medication (like most medications) has not been adequately studied in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks of using Arixtra in children.
It is known that small adults (who weigh less than 110 pounds) are at a higher risk for dangerous bleeding, compared to larger adults. This suggests that dangerous bleeding could be a problem when using Arixtra in children.
Off-Label Uses for ArixtraOn occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medication for something other than the uses discussed in this article. Some possible off-label uses for Arixtra include:
- Preventing death or future heart attacks after certain "cardiac events" (such as heart attacks)
- Preventing blood clots in people who cannot take heparin medications due to a history of "heparin-induced thrombocytopenia" (HIT)
- "Bridge therapy" in people who must temporarily stop taking warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®)
- Long-term management of clotting disorders in people who cannot take warfarin
- Preventing DVT after moderate-risk general surgeries
- Preventing DVT after gynecological surgery
- Preventing DVT in people with cancer
- Managing clotting disorders in pregnant women or preventing recurring pregnancy loss, particularly in women who cannot take heparin medications (see Arixtra and Pregnancy).
Arixtra may be approved in other countries for these uses, but in the United States they are unapproved, "off-label" uses.