How to take rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) comes in tablets, which should be taken with food to reduce the risk of nausea.
Take rivaroxaban at the same time every day
Take rivaroxaban at the same time every day, exactly as directed by your health professional. You could set an alarm or a reminder on your mobile phone, or use another trigger such as the news on TV to remind you.
If you forget to take your rivaroxaban tablets, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take your next dose at the usual time the following day. Do not take double if you miss a dose — this will increase your risk of bleeding.
If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Find out more about what to do if you miss a dose.
How much rivaroxaban do I take?
The dose of rivaroxaban and number of tablets that you need to take every day will depend on why you are taking rivaroxaban:
- to prevent a stroke if you have atrial fibrillation
- to prevent a blood clot after hip or knee replacement surgery
- to treat a deep vein thrombosis (DVT – a blood clot in a deep vein in the leg)
- to prevent a DVT or pulmonary embolism (PE – a blood clot in the lungs) if you have had one before.
When you are discharged from hospital after your surgery, some hospitals may give you enough rivaroxaban tablets to complete your course of treatment. Other hospitals will give you only a small supply of rivaroxaban tablets and you will need to visit your:
- local pharmacist to fill the rivaroxaban prescription given to you in hospital or
- doctor to get a prescription to complete your course.
Ask your doctor how long you will need to take rivaroxaban for and the total number of tablets you will need.
What is the dose after hip and knee replacement surgery?
The recommended rivaroxaban dose for people who have had hip or knee replacement surgery is one 10 mg tablet once daily. You should continue taking rivaroxaban for as long as your doctor tells you. This is usually:
- 14 days for knee replacement surgery
- 35 days for hip replacement surgery.
What is the dose to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation?
Most people with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat) will be prescribed 20 mg rivaroxaban tablets once a day.
If you have kidney problems, you may need to take a lower strength 15 mg tablet, also once a day. Your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate dose for you.
What is the dose for treating DVT?
If you have a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), your doctor may prescribe rivaroxaban to treat the DVT. The dose is 15 mg twice per day for the first 3 weeks of treatment, and thereafter 20 mg once per day for an extended time. Your doctor will let you know how long you need to take rivaroxaban for.
What is the dose for preventing recurring DVT or PE?
If you have had a DVT or PE in the past, your doctor may prescribe rivaroxaban to reduce the chance of blood clots forming again. The dose for preventing DVT or PE is 20 mg once per day. Your doctor will let you know how long you need to take rivaroxaban for.
What to do if you miss a dose
If you have missed a dose of rivaroxaban, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your usual tablet the next day, and carry on taking a tablet once a day as prescribed.
Do not take a double dose to make up for missed or forgotten doses — this will increase the risk of bleeding. If you are unsure about what to do, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Some tips for using rivaroxaban safely
- Take your rivaroxaban at the same time every day
- Do not take double to make up for missed doses
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist the date you should stop taking rivaroxaban. Write this date on the box and do not take any capsules after that.
- Don’t take rivaroxaban for longer than the prescribed number of days.
Phone for medicines information
Call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424, Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm AEST) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, 'natural', vitamins and mineral supplements) from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia.
Find out more about rivaroxaban
- Rossi S, ed. eAMH [online]. Australian Medicines Handbook, January 2013. www.amh.net.au (accessed June 2013).
- Cardiovascular Expert Group. Therapeutic guidelines: cardiovascular. Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd; 2013. www.tg.org.au (accessed June 2013).
- NPS Medicine Update, April 2010. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) for preventing blood clots after hip or knee replacement surgery
- NPS Medicine Update, December 2012. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) for preventing stroke in people with atrial fibrillation