An oral drug alternative to warfarin has been approved for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis in the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended rivaroxaban (Xarelto) as an option for treating DVT and preventing recurrent DVT and pulmonary embolism in adults diagnosed with acute DVT.
Rivaroxaban is an orally administered drug that helps prevent blood clotting by stopping a substance called Factor Xa from working. Factor Xa is necessary in the formation of thrombin and fibrin, the key components in blood clot formation.
Duration of treatment with rivaroxaban is based on an assessment of the benefit of anticoagulation compared with the risk of bleeding, and usually ranges from three to 12 months.
Carole Longson, director of the NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: “For many people, using warfarin is difficult because of the need for regular monitoring with blood tests, dosing adjustments, and the need to be careful about their diet because of warfarin’s interaction with certain foods.
“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.”
She added: “We are pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend rivaroxaban as a cost-effective option for treating DVT and preventing recurrent VTE in adults.”