Rivaroxaban, sold under the brand name Xarelto, is a medication prescribed to people with atrial fibrillation to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. The drug is also used to treat and prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the veins of the legs) and pulmonary embolism (blood clots that block arterial blood flow in the lungs) and to help reduce the chance that they will happen a second time. It may be prescribed to patients receiving an artificial hip or knee to prevent the formation of clots. As often as the drug is prescribed, it is at the center of Xarelto lawsuit litigation in which patients say they suffered serious injury.
Xarelto is an anticoagulant drug, also known as a blood thinner. It works by blocking a specific enzyme called Factor Xa, which is needed for the blood to be able to clot. The drug is available in 10, 15, and 20 mg doses and it is taken once per day, though some patients take two daily doses.
Xarelto is a direct competitor of the blood thinner warfarin, sold under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven. Some of the advantages Xarelto has over warfarin is that is doesn’t have as many food and drug interactions and patients do not need to be as closely monitored as they do with warfarin. In fact, patients on warfarin must have a blood test at least once per month, though some must have weekly tests. Another difference is that the blood thinning effect of warfarin can last for days after the medication is stopped, while the effects of Xarelto begin to wane within hours.
However, rivaroxaban has side effects including uncontrolled bleeding. Symptoms of a bleeding event include:
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Blood in your urine
- Numbness or tingling in your extremities
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased menstrual flow
- Bleeding from a cut for 10 minutes or longer
Other side effects include pain in the legs and arms, wound infection, fainting, difficult or painful urination.
The most common adverse reactions for the drug were complications concerning bleeding. Patients may experience brain bleeds, gastrointestinal bleeds, and intracranial bleeds. Unfortunately, Xarelto does not have a reversal agent, or antidote. Whereas bleeding events can occur with nearly any blood thinner, reversal agents undo the effects of the drug to stem the flow of blood. The reversal agent for warfarin is Vitamin K. Patients who experience uncontrolled bleeding event may want to speak to a Xarelto attorney to learn if they have options.
Xarelto has several drug interactions that you should be aware of. These drugs can increase your risk of suffering a bleeding event –
- Heparin, and heparin containing medications
- Zoloft, Prozac and other SSRIs and SNRIs like Effexor
- NSAIDs like Advil, Aspirin, and Aleve
Other drugs that may interact with Xarelto include:
- St. John’s Wort
- Tegretol and other Carbamazepines
- Sporanox and Onmel
If you take a blood thinner, you must talk to your doctor before taking any new drug or supplement, this includes over-the-counter medications. Do not stop taking a blood thinner without speaking to your doctor first.