The orally-administered drug rivaroxaban has been recommended by NICE for the treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in adults.
When a blood clot (a thrombus) forms in a vein and then dislodges to travel in the blood (an embolus) it results in the condition venous thromboembolim.
The clot limits blood flow through the affected vein, causing swelling and pain in the leg. A potentially fatal pulmonary embolism can result if the thrombus dislodges and travels to the lungs, blocking the blood supply.
During 2012 there will be an estimated 46,000 cases of acute DVT in England and Wales, with this number expected to rise to nearly 50,000 by 2016 due to an increasingly ageing population.
Rivaroxaban works by helping to prevent blood from clotting and can be used not only to treat DVT, but also to prevent recurrent DVT and pulmonary embolism in adults diagnosed with DVT.
NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre director Professor Carole Longson said: “Because rivaroxaban does not require frequent blood tests to monitor treatment it represents a potential benefit for many people who have had a DVT, particularly those who have risk factors for recurrence of VTE and who therefore need longer term treatment.”