More effective new anti-clotting drug

A new oral anti-clotting drug, rivaroxaban (Xarelto), is an effective, convenient and safer treatment for patients coping with deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT, sometimes called “economy flight syndrome” as it is associated with immobilization during long flights, can migrate to the lungs and form life-threatening pulmonary embolisms.

Physicians prescribe well-known anti-coagulant medications, such as oral warfarin (Coumadin) and/or heparin injections to treat the condition.

According to two new studies published in New England Journal of Medicine, oral rivaroxaban is superior to enoxaparin and vitamin K agonist for treating the potentially life-threatening clots, most typically formed in the lower leg or thigh.

Patients with symptomatic deep-vein thrombosis have a recurrence rate of 2.1% while receiving rivaroxaban for a 12-month period compared to 3% when taking enoxaparin and a vitamin K antagonist for the same duration, the study found.

“Rivaroxiban is at least as effective as the older drug warfarin and seems safer. It is also far easier to use since it does not require blood testing to adjust the dose,” said Harry R Büller from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam.

“This new treatment regimen of oral rivaroxaban can potentially make blood-clot therapy easier than the current standard treatment for both the patient and the physician with a single drug and simple fixed-dose approach,” he added.