Take one tablet twice a day; preferably in the morning and evening.
The most common unwanted effects are an increased risk of bleeding, and feeling short of breath.
It is likely you will be prescribed ticagrelor for a period of up to twelve months.
About ticagrelor tablets
|Type of medicine||An antiplatelet medicine|
|Used for||To prevent clots from forming in blood vessels in people with acute coronary syndrome|
In your blood there are 'sticky' cells called platelets. When you cut yourself, the platelets stick to each other (clot) to seal the wound. Sometimes platelets stick to each other inside an artery - this is called a thrombus. If a thrombus forms in a blood vessel around your heart, this reduces the flow of blood to your heart. The term acute coronary syndrome (ACS) covers a range of disorders that are caused by this underlying problem. It may mean that you have had a heart attack, or that you have angina pain that is not well controlled.
Antiplatelet medicines reduce the stickiness of platelets, and this helps prevent the platelets from sticking to the inside of an artery and forming a thrombus. This reduces the chances of you having a heart attack or stroke.
Ticagrelor is an antiplatelet medicine. Your doctor will also prescribe aspirin for you to take alongside ticagrelor. Aspirin is another antiplatelet medicine. A course of treatment with ticagrelor typically lasts for up to 12 months, whereas treatment with aspirin is likely to be lifelong.
Before taking ticagrelor tablets
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking ticagrelor tablets it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have any breathing difficulties, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ticagrelor can make these conditions worse.
- If you have a condition which causes bleeding, such as a recent wound or a stomach ulcer.
- If you have any other heart condition, or an abnormal heart rate.
- If you have ever been told you have high blood levels of uric acid, or gout.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have ever had a stoke caused by bleeding in your brain, called an intracranial haemorrhage.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take ticagrelor tablets
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about ticagrelor and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. On the first day of treatment, you will be given two tablets to take so that you get sufficient medicine into your bloodstream to begin with. After this, you will be prescribed one tablet (90 mg) twice a day.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take ticagrelor tablets before or after meals.
- Try to take your doses around the same times of day, preferably in the morning and the evening. This will help you to remember to take them.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep all your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Do not drink large quantities of grapefruit juice while you are on ticagrelor. This is because a chemical in grapefruit juice increases the amount of ticagrelor in your bloodstream. This makes side-effects more likely.
- If you buy any medicines, check with your doctor or a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with ticagrelor tablets. Some anti-inflammatory painkillers (called NSAIDs) can increase the risk of bleeding and may not be recommended for you. Also, do not take any preparations containing aspirin that have not been prescribed for you by your doctor, as these also could increase the risk of unwanted bleeding. Several medicines for pain relief and cold relief that can be bought at retail outlets contain aspirin, so check the label carefully before you buy.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking ticagrelor. This is because any bleeding may take longer than normal to stop.
Can ticagrelor tablets cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common ticagrelor side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling short of breath||Let your doctor know if this becomes troublesome|
|Nosebleeds, and bleeding which takes longer than normal to stop||Let your doctor know if this becomes troublesome, or if you notice any unusual or unexpected bleeding or bruising|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store ticagrelor tablets
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Brilique® 90 mg film-coated tablets; AstraZeneca UK Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2013.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins