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Rivaroxaban: Side Effects & Overdose Treatment

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Rivaroxaban is a powerful medication that prevents or dissolves the formation of life-threatening clots within the body. Read this lesson to learn about side effects related to rivaroxaban and what to do in the event of an overdose.

High-Risk Patient

Linda is a physician working in an orthopedic unit at a local hospital. Her job is to assess and treat medical issues of people coming out of joint replacement surgeries. The first patient on her list is a middle-aged man who is now recovering comfortably from a right knee replacement.

After reading his medical chart, Linda is aware that her patient, Mr. Stucky, has a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a blood clot within the leg. This means that despite his healthy appearance, the patient is likely to be at risk for further blood clot formation. Other risks for the development of blood clots include:

  • Recent hospitalization
  • Joint replacements
  • Major surgery
  • Immobility, lack of movement
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Obesity

What is Rivaroxaban?

So what medication can Mr. Stucky take to treat his DVT? One option is rivaroxaban.

Rivaroxaban is a blood thinning medication prescribed by a physician for either the prevention of or treatment of blood clots. Used to slowly dissolve clots and prevent future clot formation, Linda prescribes this new type of blood thinner as an option for her patient. It is specifically designed to help treat people with:

  • History of or a current DVT clot in the arm or leg
  • Pulmonary embolism, or a clot found in the lung
  • Atrial-fibrillation, or irregular beating of the heart leading to a right risk of clot development

Possible Side Effects

To be sure that the medication is right for her patient, she decides to thoroughly review the potential side effects of taking this drug. Side effects are unintended complications or risks related to prescribed treatments and therapies. It is difficult to predict how individuals will respond to any medication, but Linda explains that the most common side effects of rivaroxaban may include:

  • Excessive bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Epistaxis, nosebleeds
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Any of these side effects, Linda explains, would indicate an overdose of the medication and require Mr. Stucky to have his prescription reduced to a safer level for his body.

Treating an Overdose

Because rivaroxaban prevents blood from clotting, excessive bleeding is a commonly known side effect. This means that while the medication is circulating in the body, it will continue to prevent the formation of clots and scabs. This action may be dangerous and lead to hemorrhage or bleeding out in the event of accidental injury or emergency surgery.

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