Xarelto (generic rivaroxaban) is a blood thinner commonly prescribed to prevent blood clots and heart arrhythmia. Without treatment, these disorders can cause strokes, so the use of Xarelto may be essential to save an individual from debilitating or even life-threatening complications.
Consumer Reports states that alcohol use is dangerous for those using blood thinners. Despite this, it was also revealed that over 40% of adults using Xarelto also consumed alcohol in combination with the drug. Some experts believe that moderate use (no more than two drinks per day) may be relatively safe. Unfortunately, many of those who drink alcohol on a regular basis have an alcohol use disorder and may find themselves unable to control themselves and adhere to this limit. When this occurs, those who are affected are urged to seek professional treatment.
Side Effects of Using Xarelto and Alcohol
Regarding the use of Xarelto and alcohol in conjunction, bleeding is a potential side effect that may warrant the most concern. Blood thinners, as the name suggests, work to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting—this effect is especially important for those at a higher risk of experiencing a stroke. However, due to the blood having been thinned, some people are at risk for excessive bleeding.
Frequent events associated with Xarelto that are not life-threatening include nosebleeds and prolonged bleeding from minor cuts or abrasions. Rarely, bleeding may occur that may become life-threatening. The chances of physical issues occurring are significantly higher when these two substances are used in combination. For example, alcohol, even when used moderately, can act as a blood thinner. Thus, the risk of excessive bleeding may be much higher when alcohol is consumed in conjunction with Xarelto.
Combining Xarelto and alcohol can heighten the risk of troublesome bleeding events, such as the following:
- Blood is present in the stool or urine
- Blood is present in mucus when coughing
- Bleeding lasts longer than 10 minutes related a cut or wound
- Menstrual bleeding is exacerbated
- Abnormal bruising occurs that increases in size
- Severe headaches are experienced
All of these side effects are telltale signs that an individual may be suffering from uncontrolled bleeding and needs immediate medical intervention. This is especially true for older persons and those in a weakened physical state due to other health issues.
Another significant danger of combining Xarelto and alcohol includes a higher risk of experiencing a stroke, which is one of the complications that Xarelto is indicated to address. It’s also critical to remember that alcohol is a potent intoxicant that impairs a person’s motor skills and mental and physical functioning. As such, an individual who is drinking may be more likely to fall or sustain an injury, including those involving auto accidents. These events can cause excessive bruising or bleeding, and if they occur, they can be life-threatening.
Another potential factor is that, although the liver breaks down both Xarelto and alcohol, it does not necessarily do so concurrently. Experts warn that the liver’s ability to process Xarelto may become undermined as it is also now responsible for metabolizing alcohol, which it may deem to be a priority. This problem can result in an excessive amount of Xarelto in the blood, which is yet another risk associated with excessive bleeding.
And finally, chronic, heavy alcohol use can lead to impaired liver and kidney function. If a person has chronic medical issues associated with either the liver or kidneys, the metabolism of a blood thinner will be adversely affected. Once again, this may put an individual at risk for life-threatening bleeding events, including internal bleeding that may not be evident to either oneself or others. Therefore, it’s important to know the warning signs of this severe problem.
The truth is, the use of alcohol with Xarelto or other medications is counterproductive. Moreover, Xarelto is intended to extend a person’s life and mitigate the risk of severe health problems. Regular alcohol use does the opposite, and thus, a person who is taking blood thinners may be at a higher risk for injuries and excessive bleeding. Also, frequent alcohol use can result in a wealth of other adverse health consequences, including liver disease, pancreatitis, several forms of cancer, and premature death.
Getting Treatment for Alcoholism
If you or someone you love is using Xarelto and not consuming alcohol responsibly, contact us today to speak to one of our specialists. Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer comprehensive, research-based partial hospitalization and inpatient treatment programs that feature multiple therapeutic services vital to the recovery process. These include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.
We are committed to ensuring that those we treat receive all the tools, education, and support they need to abstain from alcohol use and sustain long-lasting sobriety. We believe that each individual deserves to experience a healthy and fulfilling life—contact us today to find out how we can help!