A health watchdog has published new guidance on drugs used to prevent patients who have had hip replacement or knee replacement surgery getting blood clots.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says that rivaroxaban is a cost-effective way to prevent venous thromboembolism in adults who have had planned joint replacements.
The final guidance, which has been produced as part of NICE’s rapid single technology appraisal work programme, suggests that the drug be used to prevent blood clots.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs in 20% of surgical patients and more than 40% of patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery.
If the clots become mobile they can travel up the veins into the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.
As a result NICE is recommending that rivaroxaban be used shortly after surgery and for a few weeks afterwards to prevent blood from clotting.
Dr Gillian Leng, the watchdog’s deputy chief executive said: “The independent Appraisal Committee carefully considered the evidence and concluded that rivaroxaban is a cost-effective option for preventing blood clots, alongside other effective treatments already recommended by NICE.”
Copyright Press Association 2009