Dosage of Eliquis: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Heather Bruce, PharmD

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of blood clots around the spine with certain procedures. For certain procedures, you may receive an injection into your spine or the area around your spinal cord. Taking Eliquis while having these types of injections can increase your risk of developing blood clots around your brain or spine. These clots can lead to serious complications, including long-term or permanent paralysis.

If you need to receive a spinal injection while taking Eliquis, your doctor will watch for signs of blood clots forming. Symptoms may include numbness or weakness in your legs, difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder, pain, or tingling. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of those symptoms.

Risk of blood clots if Eliquis is stopped early. Stopping any blood thinner, including Eliquis, sooner than your doctor recommends can lead to blood clots. Depending on where these blood clots form or travel in your body, they may cause pain, swelling, trouble breathing, stroke, or heart attack. If your doctor determines you need to stop taking Eliquis, they may prescribe another medication in its place.

Eliquis: Introduction

Eliquis is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug apixaban. It is not available in a generic form. Eliquis belongs to a group of drugs called direct-acting anticoagulants. These types of drugs are sometimes called blood thinners.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent and treat blood clots in adults. Specifically, Eliquis is used to:

Eliquis is available as follows:

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 2.5 milligrams (mg) and 5 mg

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Eliquis’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Eliquis, view this article.

Dosage summary

For details about the drug’s dosage, see the “Eliquis: Dosage” section below. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Eliquis that’s right for your condition.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Eliquis, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Eliquis. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Eliquis that your doctor prescribes.

Eliquis: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Eliquis are shown below.

You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you.They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Eliquis’s form and strengths

Eliquis comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Eliquis tablets come in two strengths:

  • 2.5 milligrams (mg)
  • 5 mg

Typical recommended dosages

Your Eliquis dosage varies based on several factors, including the condition you’re taking it. For certain conditions, your doctor may prescribe a loading dose. (A loading dose is a starting dose that’s higher than your regular dose.) If your doctor prescribes an Eliquis loading dose, you’ll typically take this dosage for 7 days. Then, your doctor will reduce your dosage to a maintenance dose. (A maintenance dose, or your regular dose, is a lower dose that helps maintain a consistent level of medication in your body.)

Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking Eliquis. They’ll prescribe the dosage that’s best for you.

The table below shows recommended Eliquis dosages to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in certain people. It also summarizes Eliquis dosages to prevent stroke or blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib).

DoseFrequency
Dosing for PE or DVT prevention after hip or knee replacement2.5 mgtwice per day
Dosing for PE or DVT prevention after treatment2.5 mgtwice per day
Dosing in people with AFib for prevention of stroke or blood clots5 mgtwice per day

For treating PE or DVT, your doctor will prescribe a loading dose for 7 days, followed by a maintenance dose. Below is an overview of Eliquis’ recommended dosage for the treatment of PE and DVT.

  • Loading dose: 10 mg twice per day for 7 days
  • Maintenance dose: 5 mg twice per day

Length of treatment

For most uses, doctors typically don’t prescribe Eliquis long term. However, you’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for the following uses:

  • prevention of PE or DVT after treatment
  • prevention of stroke or blood clots in people with AFib

Your length of treatment for other uses of Eliquis varies based on the reason you’re taking this medication.

The table below summarizes recommended Eliquis treatment lengths.

UseLength of treatment
treatment of PE and DVTat least 6 months
prevention of PE and DVT after hip replacement surgery35 days
prevention of PE and DVT after knee replacement surgery12 days

Eliquis: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Eliquis’s dosage.

What’s the recommended dosage of Eliquis in older people?

In most cases, the dosage of Eliquis for older people is the same as that for younger people. However, a doctor may decrease the dosage for someone age 80 years or older taking Eliquis for atrial fibrillation (AFib).

The recommended dosage to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in people with certain types of AFib is 5 milligrams (mg) twice per day. However, if you have at least two of the following factors, the manufacturer of Eliquis recommends a dosage of 2.5 mg twice per day:

  • age 80 years or older
  • body weight less than 60 kilograms (kg)*
  • kidney problems, such as kidney failure or conditions requiring dialysis

It’s important to take Eliquis exactly as your doctor prescribes it. They’ll prescribe the dosage that’s best for your needs.

* One kg equals about 2.2 pounds.

Does Eliquis have a renal dosing recommendation?

Yes. In most cases, your doctor will recommend a lower dosage of Eliquis if you have kidney problems, such as kidney failure or conditions requiring dialysis. The recommended renal dosing for Eliquis is 2.5 mg twice per day.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about your Eliquis dosage. Before you start taking Eliquis, they may order a blood test to check your kidney function. Your doctor will decide if you need your Eliquis dosage adjusted.

What are Eliquis starter packs? Is there a starter pack dosing recommendation?

An Eliquis starter pack contains the medication needed for your first 30 days of pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatment. The pack includes the tablets you’ll take during your first week of treatment (loading dose*) and instructions for how to step down your dose (maintenance dose†) after the first 7 days.

The Eliquis starter pack is meant to be used only if you’re taking Eliquis to treat PE or DVT. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about using an Eliquis starter pack.

* A loading dose is a starting dose that’s higher than your regular dosage.
† A maintenance dose, or your regular dose, is a lower dose that helps maintain a consistent level of a medication in your body.

Eliquis: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Eliquis. These factors include:

  • your age
  • the condition you’re taking Eliquis to treat
  • the severity of your condition
  • other medications you’re taking
  • your weight

Your prescribed dosage may also vary based on other medical conditions you have.

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Your doctor may decrease your Eliquis dosage if you’re taking it for atrial fibrillation (AFib) and have at least two of the following factors:

  • age of 80 years or older
  • body weight less than 60 kilograms (kg)*
  • kidney problems, such as kidney failure or conditions requiring dialysis

Also, certain medications may raise the amount of Eliquis in your body. This can increase your risk of bleeding with Eliquis. Your doctor may lower your Eliquis dosage if you take these types of drugs with Eliquis. Examples may include:

  • clarithromycin
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • ritonavir (Norvir)

If you have questions about your Eliquis dosage, talk with your doctor.

* One kg equals about 2.2 pounds.

Eliquis: How to take

Eliquis comes as an oral tablet. You’ll take it by mouth twice per day.

You may take Eliquis with or without food.

If it’s difficult for you to swallow tablets whole, you can crush Eliquis tablets and mix them with water, apple juice, or applesauce. After making this mixture, take it immediately.

You can also see this article for information on taking tablets. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist and ask if they have other suggestions to help you take the medication.

ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS

If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Eliquis in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Eliquis: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Eliquis, take it as soon as you remember on the same day. Then, return to your regular dosage schedule. Do not take two doses together to make up for a skipped dose.

If you miss several doses of Eliquis, call your doctor. Stopping Eliquis treatment early can increase the risk of serious problems.*

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

* Eliquis has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see “FDA warnings” at the beginning of the article.

Eliquis: Overdose

If you take more than the recommended dosage of Eliquis, serious bleeding can occur. Do not take more Eliquis than your doctor prescribes. 

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms of serious bleeding with Eliquis include:

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe a drug that can reverse the effects of Eliquis. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Eliquis: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Eliquis’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Eliquis that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Eliquis dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Eliquis with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more:

  • Overview of Eliquis. For comprehensive details on Eliquis, see this article.
  • Drug comparisons. To learn how Eliquis compares with Xarelto, read this article.
  • Information on side effects. If you’d like to know about possible side effects of Eliquis, view this article.
  • Details about blood clots. To learn more about blood clots, which Eliquis is used to treat, see this article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Heather Bruce, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Jul 17
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.