• Rivaroxaban is used to prevent harmful clots occurring in your blood.
  • The usual dose is one tablet a day.
  • The most common side-effects are bleeding (such as nosebleeds) and feeling sick.

About rivaroxaban

Type of medicine Anticoagulant
Used for To prevent harmful blood clots following hip or knee surgery, or in people with atrial fibrillation (an irregular fast heartbeat)
Also called Xarelto®
Available as Tablets

Rivaroxaban works by preventing your blood from clotting as quickly or as effectively as normal. It does this by blocking a substance in your blood which is involved in the development of blood clots, called factor Xa.

Sometimes harmful blood clots can form in the veins of your legs, lungs, brain or heart, and cause a blockage. This is more likely to happen if you are having certain types of surgery, or if you have a fast irregular heartbeat. For many years, a medicine called warfarin has been commonly used to help protect against this. However, people who take warfarin need to have regular blood tests to measure how quickly their blood clots. This often means that the dose of warfarin can change quite frequently. Rivaroxaban works in a slightly different way to warfarin, so people who take rivaroxaban do not need to have regular blood tests.

You may be prescribed rivaroxaban if you are having hip or knee surgery, or if you have a certain type of irregular fast heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation.

Before taking rivaroxaban

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 rivaroxaban it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have had any surgery recently (other than hip or knee surgery).
  • If you have an ulcer in your stomach or intestines, or if you have recently recovered from one.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have any medical problems that may increase your risk of bleeding.
  • If you have a problem with the blood vessels in your eyes, known as vascular retinopathy.
  • If you have any problems with your liver or kidneys.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.

How to take rivaroxaban

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about rivaroxaban, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take rivaroxaban exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usual to take one dose each day, but your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what dose is right for you. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack.
  • If the strength of the tablets you have been prescribed is 10 mg, you can take these tablets either before or after meals. If you have been given the higher 15 mg or 20 mg strength tablets, you should take these after a meal. This is because food may interfere with the amount of rivaroxaban your body absorbs from these higher-strength tablets.
  • Try to take rivaroxaban at the same time each day, as this will help you to remember to take it.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If you take any medicines that you have bought without a prescription, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with rivaroxaban. This is because some medicines, such as some painkillers, may interfere with it.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Can rivaroxaban cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common rivaroxaban side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick If you are not already doing so, try taking your doses after a meal
Bleeding (such as nosebleeds), anaemia If the bleeding continues or becomes troublesome, let your doctor know
Feeling dizzy or faint If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel well again
Changes in some blood tests, fever, swollen feet or ankles, rash If you are concerned about any of these, speak with your doctor

Important: if you experience any unusual bleeding, speak with your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store rivaroxaban

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.