How Effective Is Rivaroxaban for Atrial Fibrillation?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 30 June 2019
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Rivaroxaban for atrial fibrillation can be highly effective, causing fewer side effects and requiring less need for monitoring. This medication does not actually treat atrial fibrillation directly, but instead reduces the risk of stroke in patients who have this condition. The historic gold standard for managing stroke risk in atrial fibrillation patients has been the anticoagulant warfarin, which can be dangerous if the patient is not carefully monitored throughout treatment. An alternative that is safer and easier to administer carries a number of advantages.

In people with atrial fibrillation, where the heartbeats are irregular, the stroke risk can be significantly increased without the help of an anticoagulant. Rivaroxaban works by interrupting the coagulation cascade that normally causes clotting. Patients can take a single daily pill and experience protection for 24 hours. Unlike patients on warfarin, they do not need regular blood tests and examinations to check on clotting status and determine if the dosage is correct.

Clinical trials on rivaroxaban for atrial fibrillation demonstrated that it could be safer and more effective for stroke prevention. This included studies in patients with serious illnesses, who can be more difficult to treat because of the risk of medication and disease interactions. Based on this information, the US Food and Drug Administration approved rivaroxaban for atrial fibrillation, indicating that it supported this use, and regulators in other nations have followed suit.


Alternative therapies to prevent stroke can be important. If a patient doesn’t respond well to one medication, having another, like rivaroxaban for atrial fibrillation, means that the patient won’t be stuck without viable options. Doctors can work with their patients to find the best treatment option and adjust the dosage to find the patient’s comfort level, the point where a drug is effective with a low chance of side effects. Patients who later develop drug reactions can discuss available alternatives to see what kinds of options might be considered.

While using rivaroxaban for atrial fibrillation, it is important for patients to attend their regularly scheduled medical appointments. These provide an opportunity to check for serious side affects, assess heart health, and determine if the patient has any other medical issues that need to be addressed. People should also call their medical practitioners if they experience problems that might indicate the medication is not working or a bad reaction is occurring. It is also advisable to carry a medic alert card with information about the anticoagulant, as this may be important for first responders to have in an emergency.



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