Rivaroxaban: Pharmacology, Classification & Structure

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to go over the ways by which a drug called rivaroxaban can be classified. You'll also learn what it does, how it works, and what it looks like structurally.


Rivaroxaban is the generic name for a brand name medication that is called Xarelto in the United States. If you still don't know what it is, then here's a clue. The first two letters of Xarelto, Xa, actually give away what this drug does and thus what it's used for. Have you ever heard of factor Xa?

If not, then keep reading to find out exactly what this drug does and what Xa has to do with it.


Rivaroxaban can be classified in more than one way, actually. Very, very generally speaking, rivaroxaban is an antithrombotic. An antithrombotic is a drug that is against, anti-, the formation of thrombi, which are blood clots within the cardiovascular system.

More specifically, rivaroxaban is a type of antithrombotic known as an anticoagulant. These are drugs that minimize the formation of blood clots by inhibiting the formation of a protein, called fibrin. This protein is super important for blood clots.

Anticoagulants are sometimes called blood thinners although antiplatelet drugs, like aspirin, are also known as blood thinners. Either way, this is a misnomer because these drugs don't thin out or dilute the blood, they just help prevent it from clotting.

In any case, even more specifically, rivaroxaban is a type of anticoagulant known as a direct oral anticoagulant, or DOAC. Unlike anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin) and heparin, this term refers to a newer type of anticoagulants that may be safer to use and require less monitoring than traditional anticoagulants.

Last, but not least, another specific way by which we can classify rivaroxaban is via its mechanism of action. It is a direct, selective, and reversible factor Xa inhibitor.

Pharmacology & Structure

And this is where we get into this drug's pharmacology.

Thrombi form thanks to stable fibrin clots. These fibrin clots arise thanks to a cascade of reactions where clotting factors, platelets, and other things interact with one another.

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