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Supportive Care

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What is rivaroxaban?

Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®) is a blood thinner (also known as an anticoagulant).  It is used to treat patients who have a blood clot. It can also be used to prevent a blood clot from forming in patients who are at risk.

This medicine is available as 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg tablets that are taken by mouth.

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Possible side effects

  • Possible side effects of rivaroxaban
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Call the doctor right away if you have any of the following side effects:
    • Symptoms of serious bleeding such as blood in the urine, bright red or dark tarry stools, coughing up blood, or severe stomach pain.
    • Large bruises.
    • Symptoms of a new or worsening blood clot such as: trouble breathing, chest pain, feeling dizzy, swelling of the arms or legs, vision problems, pain when walking, or pain and warmth in your arms or legs.

      These are the most common or serious side effects, but there may be more. Report all side effects to your medical team.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, hives, itching, chills, fever, headache, muscle ache, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the throat, swelling of the face or neck.

Not all patients who take rivaroxaban will experience these side effects. Common side effects are bolded, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

Find more information on side effects.

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Possible late effects

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your doctor or pharmacist. 

  • Doses higher than 10 mg should be taken with a meal.
  • Rivaroxaban is taken either one (1) time a day or twice daily depending on what it is being used for. Be sure you understand how you should take this medicine before starting.
    • The dose you are taking may change while you are taking this medicine. Your medical team should make you aware if changes will occur. If you are unsure, contact your medical team right away.
    • Do not stop this medicine unless instructed by your doctor.
  • It is important to take this medicine at about the same time each day and avoid missing doses.
    • If you miss a dose and remember on the same day you were supposed to take it, take it right away (regardless of when the next dose is due).
    • If you miss a dose and remember on a different day than you were supposed to take it, the dose should not be made up. Do not take an extra dose.
  • Tell all medical providers who are caring for you about this medicine.
    • If you are in an accident or experience trauma, make sure the medical team (EMT, emergency room) caring for you is aware that you are taking a blood thinner.
  • Since rivaroxaban can put you at risk for bleeding, it is important to avoid other medicines that can cause bleeding, unless prescribed by a doctor. Some examples of medicine that can increase bleeding include:
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen (Aleve®), ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®)
    • Aspirin or blood thinners such as heparin (Lovenox®) or warfarin (Coumadin®)
    • If you are unsure if a medicine can put you at risk for bleeding, talk with your medical team.