Answering Your AFib Questions

Each day, people like you search online for answers to questions about atrial fibrillation (AFib) and XARELTO®. So we wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of them. Below, you’ll find answers to the questions people ask the most.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) FAQs

When you have AFib, your stroke risk is 5 times higher than someone without AFib. XARELTO® is a prescription blood thinner that reduces your stroke risk by helping to prevent blood clots from forming inside your heart. Read more about AFib and stroke.

AFib is a long-term condition that increases the risk of stroke, and your risk can increase over time. Only your healthcare professional can decide how long you should take XARELTO®. Do not stop taking XARELTO® without talking to the healthcare professional who prescribes it for you. Stopping XARELTO® increases your risk of having a stroke.

The CHA2DS2-VASc score is a measure of AFib-related stroke risk based on certain risk factors. It uses a scale of 0 through 9, with 0 being low risk and 9 being high risk. Learn more about the CHA2DS2-VASc and use our risk calculator to find your score.

No. You are at risk of stroke from AFib even if you don’t feel symptoms. Do not stop taking XARELTO® without talking to the healthcare professional who prescribes it for you. Stopping XARELTO® increases your risk of having a stroke. If you have to stop taking XARELTO®, your healthcare professional may prescribe another blood thinner to help prevent blood clots from forming.

To reduce your risk of an AFib-related stroke, you should take XARELTO® once a day with your evening meal. If you miss a dose of XARELTO®, take it as soon as you remember on the same day. Take your next dose at your regularly scheduled time.

Ask your healthcare professional about treatment options. The American Heart Association does not recommend aspirin as an option for the prevention of stroke due to AFib. In general, aspirin is considered to be inferior to other blood thinners for reducing stroke risk in people with nonvalvular AFib and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2 or higher. It’s also important to remember that the CHA2DS2-VASc score, which is a measurement of your stroke risk, can change over time. Your score may be low now, but if you have a score of 2 or higher, you may want to talk to your healthcare professional about managing your stroke risk with a blood thinner like XARELTO®.

XARELTO® FAQs

XARELTO® is a prescription blood thinner that reduces the risk of stroke in people with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib). Learn more.

XARELTO® lowers your blood’s ability to clot by selectively blocking one of the clotting factors found in your blood—an enzyme called Factor Xa (“10a”). Learn more.

Unlike warfarin, it has been shown that the effect of XARELTO® on your body’s blood-clotting function is the same regardless of age, race, weight, sex, or dietary changes. There are also limited known interactions between XARELTO® and other medications. If you take XARELTO®, regular blood tests are not needed to see if XARELTO® is working, to check your blood-thinning levels (international normalized ratio, or INR), or to change your medication dose.*

Not only does warfarin interact with other medicines, alcohol, and certain foods (especially those high in vitamin K), but the initial dosing of warfarin varies widely from person to person based on a number of factors, including age, race, weight, and sex. Because of this, you will need to have regular blood tests—in some cases as often as 1–2 times a week—to ensure your warfarin dose remains safe and effective.

*Certain patients with impaired kidney function may be monitored by their healthcare professional and have their dose adjusted as necessary.

Unlike warfarin (Coumadin®), XARELTO® has no known dietary restrictions. You can still enjoy eating leafy greens and other foods high in vitamin K without affecting how XARELTO® works.

XARELTO® has fewer drug interactions than older medicines like warfarin, but you should always tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements—especially if you take ketoconazole, ritonavir, carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin, erythromycin, or St. John's wort.

It’s also important to note that, as with all blood thinners, you have a higher risk of bleeding if you take XARELTO® with other medicines that also increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), warfarin, any medicine that contains heparin, or clopidogrel.

Like all blood thinners, XARELTO® can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and in rare cases, can be life threatening. Be sure to take XARELTO® exactly as prescribed, and do not stop taking XARELTO® without talking to the healthcare professional who prescribes it for you. You should discuss all potential benefits and risks with your healthcare professional.

How much you will have to pay for XARELTO® depends on your health plan coverage. If you have commercial or private insurance and are being treated with XARELTO®, except if you are only taking XARELTO® because you have undergone hip- or knee- replacement surgery, you may be eligible for savings through the Janssen CarePath Savings Program for XARELTO®.

If you have government coverage, or no prescription coverage, Janssen CarePath can provide information about other resources that may be able to help with your out-of-pocket medication costs. Learn more about your savings options.

Savings are available to eligible patients through the Janssen CarePath Savings Program for XARELTO®. If you have commercial or private insurance and are being treated with XARELTO®, except if you are only taking XARELTO® because you have undergone hip- or knee- replacement surgery, you may be eligible for savings.

If you have government coverage, or no prescription coverage, Janssen CarePath can provide information about other resources that may be able to help with your out-of-pocket medication costs. Learn more about your savings options.

Do everything you can to fill your prescription before you run out. Skipping or stopping XARELTO® may increase your risk of having a DVT or PE blood clot or stroke. If you’ve been prescribed XARELTO®, you can set up monthly refill reminders when you register in Janssen CarePath, which offers support and educational resources for people taking XARELTO®.

If you need to have surgery or surgical dental procedures, be sure to tell your dentist, oral surgeon, or other healthcare professionals that you are taking XARELTO®. You should also talk to the healthcare professional who prescribed XARELTO® for you. Only they can tell you whether, and for how long, you may need to stop. If you do need to stop taking XARELTO®, it is typically stopped at least 24 hours before your procedure.

When starting XARELTO®, it takes 2–4 hours for it to reach its full blood-thinning effect, and it leaves your system more quickly than warfarin—typically in about 24 hours. Compared to warfarin, which can take 3–4 days to reach its full blood-thinning effect and up to 7 days to leave your system, XARELTO® may be a more convenient option for people who plan to have surgery or surgical dental procedures.

An agent to reverse the anti-factor Xa activity of XARELTO® is available. XARELTO® starts and stops working relatively quickly, which can help your healthcare professional manage your treatment if you plan to have surgery or surgical dental procedures. Do not stop taking XARELTO® without talking to the healthcare professional who prescribes it for you.

XARELTO® was developed together by Janssen and Bayer. They continue to develop XARELTO® to treat and help reduce the risk of blood clot–related events in different conditions.