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New treatment for blood clots approved by NICE

8041646-article-bloodclotPatients with blood clots can be now be offered rivaroxaban as an alternative to warfarin for the treatment of blood clots following latest guidance from NICE.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg or pelvis, and then dislodges to travel in the blood.

This can lead to blood flow being limited by the clot, and can cause pain or swelling in the leg. It can also cause a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal event where the clot blocks the bloody supply to the lungs.

Estimates suggest there will be more than 46,000 cases of acute DVT in England and Wales during 2012, which will rise to nearly 50,000 cases by 2016, due in part to the country's ageing population.

Warfarin has been used to treat the condition in the past, but some patients find it inconvenient due to the careful monitoring, regular blood tests, and frequent clinic visits required to ensure the blood's clotting properties remain within acceptable limits.

In final guidance, NICE says rivaroxaban can be used as an option for treating DVT and for preventing recurrent DVT and pulmonary embolism in adults diagnosed with DVT.

Rivaroxaban is a drug, orally taken, that prevents blood from clotting by preventing a substance called Factor Xa from working, which is necessary for the formation of key components in blood clots.

Professor Carole Longson, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director, 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.

"We are pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend rivaroxaban as a cost-effective option for treating DVT and preventing recurrent VTE in adults."

25 July 2012

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.