Patients with blood clots can be now be offered Rivaroxaban ( Xarelto ) as an alternative to Warfarin ( Coumadin ) for the treatment of blood clots following latest guidance from NICE ( National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence ).

Deep vein thrombosis ( DVT ) is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg or pelvis, and then dislodges to travel in the blood.
This can lead to blood flow being limited by the clot, and can cause pain or swelling in the leg. It can also cause a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal event where the clot blocks the bloody supply to the lungs.

Estimates suggest there will be more than 46,000 cases of acute deep vein thrombosis in England and Wales during 2012, which will rise to nearly 50,000 cases by 2016, due in part to the country's ageing population.

Warfarin has been used to treat the condition in the past, but some patients find it inconvenient due to the careful monitoring, regular blood tests, and frequent clinic visits required to ensure the blood's clotting properties remain within acceptable limits.

In final guidance, NICE says Rivaroxaban can be used as an option for treating deep vein thrombosis and for preventing recurrent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in adults diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.

Rivaroxaban is a drug, orally taken, that prevents blood from clotting by preventing a substance called factor Xa from working, which is necessary for the formation of key components in blood clots.

According to NICE, Rivaroxaban is a cost-effective option for treating deep vein thrombosis and preventing recurrent venous thromboembolism in adults.

Source: NICE, 2012