Who is rivaroxaban (Xarelto) for?
Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) is used to:
- prevent blood clots if you’ve had hip or knee replacement surgery
- prevent a stroke if you have atrial fibrillation and at least one other risk factor for stroke, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT – a blood clot in a deep vein of the leg)
- prevent another DVT or pulmonary embolism (PE – a blood clot in the lung) if you have had one before.
Rivaroxaban can prevent blood clots from forming, reducing the chance of serious blood clot-related conditions such as stroke, DVT and PE.
Rivaroxaban may not be suitable for people with certain conditions including those that increase their risk of bleeding risk.
If you are already taking warfarin to prevent blood clots, and your INR is stable, there is little or no benefit in switching to another anticoagulant medicine (e.g. rivaroxaban or dabigatran).
Find out more about who shouldn’t take rivaroxaban.
Preventing and treating DVT and PE
People who are inactive in the few weeks following hip or knee replacement surgery have an increased risk of blood clots forming. This is because low levels of activity can result in slow blood flow through the body, increasing the chance of the blood pooling and forming blood clots.
A blood clot that develops in a large vein of the leg or the pelvis is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If the DVT breaks off, it can travel and lodge in the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), and it is life threatening. Both DVT and PE are types of venous thromboembolism (VTE), and are serious conditions requiring prompt medical treatment.
Preventing stroke in people with atrial fibrillation
If you have atrial fibrillation you are at greater risk of having a stroke. Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heart beats irregularly. This means that blood isn’t pumped through the heart with the usual force, allowing blood to pool in one of the chambers of the heart. As a result, blood clots can form, which can travel through the blood vessels and can block the blood supply to the brain causing a stroke.
Rivaroxaban has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation.
If you are unsure why you are taking rivaroxaban, ask your doctor.
Who can receive rivaroxaban on the PBS?
Preventing blood clots
You can receive rivaroxaban through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for short-term use to prevent blood clots (a DVT or PE) from forming after hip or knee replacement surgery.
Rivaroxaban can also be prescribed on the PBS for treating a DVT or PE, and for preventing a DVT or PE recurring if you who have had one before.
Rivaroxaban is also PBS subsidised for preventing stroke if you have atrial fibrillation and one or more risk factors that increase your chance of having a stroke including:
- a previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- being 75 years or older
- high blood pressure
- type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- heart failure.
Tell all your health professionals you are taking rivaroxaban
If you are taking rivaroxaban, tell all the health professionals treating you — including your doctor, pharmacist and dentist. They may need to talk to the doctor who prescribed rivaroxaban for you, particularly if you need to have surgery.
Be sure to let your doctor or pharmacist know about any other medicines you are taking in case they interact with rivaroxaban.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about taking rivaroxaban, and read the consumer medicines information for Xarelto.
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 (except Queensland and Victoria).
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