American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 395–401 | Cite as

Rivaroxaban in the Prevention of Stroke and Systemic Embolism in Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation: Clinical Implications of the ROCKET AF Trial and Its Subanalyses

Review Article


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an increasingly common cause of stroke and systemic embolism. While warfarin has been the mainstay of stroke prevention in patients with AF, newer novel oral anticoagulant medications are now available. Rivaroxaban, a direct factor Xa inhibitor with a rapid onset and offset after oral administration, offers potential advantages over warfarin, predominantly due to its predictable pharmacokinetics across wide patient populations. It requires no coagulation monitoring, and only two different doses are needed (20 mg daily for patients with normal renal function and 15 mg daily in those with reduced renal function). A large randomized trial (ROCKET AF) has shown non-inferiority to warfarin for preventing stroke or systemic embolism in the per-protocol population and superiority to warfarin in the on-treatment safety population. Several subanalyses confirm that the treatment effect of rivaroxaban is consistent across different patient subgroups, including those with reduced renal function. The tolerability of rivaroxaban appears similar to that of warfarin, with comparable overall bleeding rates in clinical trials. In ROCKET AF, significantly lower rates of fatal and intracranial bleeding were seen with rivaroxaban, while lower rates of gastrointestinal bleeding were seen with warfarin. Important contraindications to rivaroxaban include valvular AF, the presence of a prosthetic valve (mechanical or bioprosthetic) or valve repair, the need for concurrent dual antiplatelet therapy, and creatinine clearance <30 ml/min. Once-daily dosing and the lack of coagulation monitoring may increase utilization and adherence compared with warfarin, potentially decreasing the large burden of care associated with stroke secondary to AF. Overall, rivaroxaban offers a useful alternative to warfarin for stroke prevention in patients with AF.



No external funding was used in the preparation of this manuscript. J. A. was on the steering committee and was national coordinator/principal investigator for the RE-LY and ARISTOTLE studies and was a participant in the ROCKET AF study. He has been on national and international advisory boards for the manufacturers of all three novel anticoagulants and has given sponsored and invited lectures nationally and internationally. R. S. has no conflicts of interest that are relevant to the contents of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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