FDA Approves Xarelto to Prevent Stroke in People With Common Type of Abnormal Heart Rhythm
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the anti-clotting drug Xarelto (rivaroxaban) to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have abnormal heart rhythm (non-valvular atrial fibrillation).
Atrial fibrillation occurs in more than 2 million Americans and is one of the most common types of abnormal heart rhythm. In atrial fibrillation, the beating of the heart's two upper heart chambers (atria) is irregular and poorly coordinated. This leads to blood pooling in these chambers, resulting in blood clots. Non-valvular atrial fibrillation refers to atrial fibrillation in patients who do not have significant problems in their heart valves.
"Atrial fibrillation can lead to the formation of blood clots, which can travel to the brain, blocking blood flow and causing a disabling stroke," said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "This approval gives doctors and patients another treatment option for a condition that must be managed carefully."
A stroke occurs if the flow of blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. If brain cells die or are damaged because of a stroke, symptoms occur in the parts of the body that these brain cells control. Stroke symptoms include sudden weakness; paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs; trouble speaking or understanding speech; and trouble seeing.
The safety and efficacy of Xarelto were evaluated in a clinical trial with more than 14,000 patients comparing Xarelto with the anti-clotting drug warfarin. In the trial, Xarelto was similar to warfarin in its ability to prevent stroke.
For people taking the drug for atrial fibrillation, Xarelto should be taken one time a day with the evening meal so that it will be completely absorbed.
National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.