Doctors treating patients with atrial fibrillation have embraced the new oral anticoagulants and more than 60% of new prescriptions are now written for the newer choices instead of warfarin (Coumadin). Xarelto seems to be gaining speed as the dominating new blood thinner. Xarelto use has increased quickly, with more patients being treated with this drug than with warfarin or Pradaxa in 2013.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Xarelto:
2. Compared to warfarin, Xarelto results in less major bleeding or brain hemorrhage but slightly more gastrointestinal bleeding. Generally, all of the newer anticoagulants are considered safer than warfarin because of this smaller risk of bleeding into the brain.
3. In addition to being slightly safer than warfarin, Xarelto is more convenient: you don’t have to have blood tests to check your levels, you don’t have dietary restrictions, and there are fewer drug-to-drug interactions.
6. Sticker shock. On average, Xarelto costs patients 221 dollars for 6 months of medication. Find out your co-pay or cash price before you fill your prescription, there is no question warfarin will be cheaper.
8. Unlike with warfarin, there is no way to reverse the blood thinning effects of Xarelto. The upside to that is that Xarelto has a short half-life so if it’s discontinued, normal anticoagulation returns in a relatively short time compared to warfarin.
10. There are no head to head comparisons of the 4 new blood thinners so anyone who tells you Xarelto is “better” than the others doesn’t really know that to be true. Yet.