NICE approves use of anti-stroke drug rivaroxaban

NICE has approved use of AF treatment rivaroxaban in a preliminary ruling, the second warfarin option to be recommended inside a fortnight.

Electrocardiogram (EKG) depicting atrial fibrillation (Photo: SPL)
Electrocardiogram (EKG) depicting atrial fibrillation (Photo: SPL)

In draft guidance published Friday, the institute recommended the drug for prevention of systemic embolism in AF patients.

It follows on the heels of the institute's final approval of another warafrin alternative, dabigatran etexilate, earlier this month.

Rivaroxoban is taken orally and inhibits blood clotting agent Factor Xa.

If approved in final guidance, GPs can prescribe the drug for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular AF who have one or more risk factors. These include congestive heart failure, hypertension, age 75 years or older, diabetes, prior stroke or TIA.

Professor Carole Longson, director of NICE's Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said the drug can benefit people with AF who find it difficult to maintain blood clotting at an appropriate level on warfarin, particularly in older people.

She added that rivaroxoban, like dabigatran etexilate, doesn't require as frequent monitoring and dose adjustments as warfarin.

Rivaroxaban would cost the NHS around £2.10 per day.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium accepted the drug in February 2012 for use in patients who have poor INR control despite evidence that they are complying with a coumarin anticoagulant such as warfarin and in patients who are allergic to or unable to tolerate coumarin anticoagulants.

Up to 700,000 people are believed to have AF in England and Wales.

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