Drug vs. Drug

Eliquis vs Xarelto: Main Differences and Similarities

By | July 30, 2018

One of the most common issues with irregular heart rhythms that adults experience is atrial fibrillation, AFib. Current estimates of this condition suggest that around three to six million adults in the U.S. have this Afib, and this figure estimate is expected to increase. Atrial fibrillation can be damaging to your health and in certain situations it is life threatening. With that said, there is medication that is commonly used to treat the condition and prevent adverse health events from occurring. Eliquis and Xarelto are two common prescription medications that are used in the setting of AFib. They both thin your blood as a way to help prevent blood clots from forming, which can ultimately lead to a stroke. While these two medications work in similar ways, there are some differences to be aware of. Consider the information as a guide between these two drugs.

What’s the Difference Between Eliquis and Xarelto?

Two common blood thinners that help in the treatment of AFib include Eliquis and Xarelto. The complete comparison between these two NOACS drugs (Novel Oral Anticoagulants) is listed ahead.

Eliquis

Eliquis is a drug that belongs to the class of anticoagulants, or NOACS. It is one of the most common factor Xa inhibitors in the blood, meaning it works to prevent your blood from clotting. Preventing your blood from its natural clotting process can help to prevent thromboembolic events, which can lead to strokes. While it is primarily used in the setting of atrial fibrillation, there is some addition settings in which you could be prescribed this drug. Commonly, Eliquis is used following knee replacement surgery as a way to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), for stroke prevention, as well as pulmonary embolism (PE).

The chemical, or generic, name for Eliquis is apixaban. This drug belongs to the therapeutic class of anticoagulants, or factor Xa inhibitors. It currently comes in a film coated tablet, in doses of 2.5 milligrams each. The Eliquis brand name is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and there are currently no generic formulations of this medication, which means this is often an expensive treatment option.

The common side effects of Eliquis include a skin rash, fainting, nausea, anemia, confusion, constipation, dizziness, fast heartbeat, headaches, shortness of breath, bruising, and bleeding. In addition to these side effects, it is important to disclose if you have an artificial heart valve or any heart disease, as this drug is not currently recommended by the American College of Cardiology for use in prosthetic valves and can inhibit certain medical management options.

Xarelto

Another drug that belongs to the anticoagulant drug class (NOACS) is Xarelto. Similar to Eliquis, Xarelto is another one of the most common factor Xa inhibitors and it is FDA approved to be used in the setting of atrial fibrillation. Since this drug works to inhibit your blood’s clotting factor, it is used to prevent thromboembolic events in the body, which can lead to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, as well as a stroke.

The chemical name of Xarelto is rivaroxaban and there currently is no generic formulation of this brand name medication. Since there is no generic formulation, costs tend to be elevated as a result. This brand name drug is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and it currently comes in a film coated tablet in doses of 10 milligrams. Xarelto does not require maintenance blood tests and it does not require a strict diet, as with other blood thinning agents.

Common side effects associated with the use of Xarelto include back pain, bleeding of the gums, vomiting of blood, numbness, nose bleeding, blisters, diarrhea, and irregular heartbeats. In addition to these side effects, Xarelto has no known reversal agent, meaning too much of this drug is one of the risk factors to be aware of with drug interactions. It is not recommended to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when on Xarelto, as this can lead to an increased risk in bleeding.

Eliquis vs Xarelto Side by Side Comparison

While there are similarities between these two NOACS drugs, there are some variations to be aware of.  The main differences and similarities between Eliquis and Xarelto are as follows:

Eliquis Xarelto
Prescribed For
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Fibrillation
Common Side Effects
  • Skin rash
  • Allergic reaction
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Skin rash
  • Allergic reaction
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Decrease in frequency of urination
Is there a generic?
  • No
  • No
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies by provider
  • Varies by provider
Dosage Forms
  • Tablet
  • Tablet
Average Cash Price
  • $497 (per 60 oral tablets)
  • $491 (per 30 tablets)
SingleCare Price
Drug Interactions
  • NSAIDs
  • Blood thinners
  • SSRIs
  • SNRIs
  • NSAIDs
  • Blood thinners
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • HIV treatment drugs
  • St John’s wort
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Consult your doctor regarding pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Eliquis.
  • Consult your doctor regarding pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Xarelto.

Summary

Two of the most common NOACS drugs to hit the market for the treatment of atrial fibrillation are Eliquis and Xarelto. These two drugs take effect on certain clotting factors in your blood, which creates a thinning effect. In addition to being an effective treatment in AFib, these two drugs help to prevent deep vein thrombosis, stroke, as well as pulmonary embolism. The use of these drugs are both known to increase bleeding risk, so discuss this with your doctor.

If you suspect that you have atrial fibrillation, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor.  The information above is designed to give you a comparison between these two common NOACS drugs, but the use of these should be under the direct care of your doctor.