Xarelto is a blood thinner used to prevent strokes, but specific interactions can occur when mixing this drug with alcohol.

Article at a Glance:

The goal of blood thinners, such as Xarelto, is ultimately to prevent strokes and to prolong one’s life. The misuse of alcohol in combination with blood thinners is risky.

Consumer Reports article listed alcohol consumption as dangerous for those taking blood thinners. It also stated that nearly 42% of adults partook of alcohol while on medication. Is there a safe amount of alcohol to drink while on Xarelto? The NHS states that moderate use of alcohol is permissible such as no more than two drinks per day in a week.

Before making any decisions concerning drinking alcohol while taking Xarelto, it’s best to follow up with your physician. Remember these key points before you mix the two substances:

  • Increased risk for internal bleeding
  • Increased risk for strokes
  • Increased risk for falls or injury to the body

Alcohol and Xarelto

As with most medications, Xarelto has potential negative side effects. These side effects can be worsened when Xarelto is combined with alcohol.

Xarelto is a commonly prescribed oral blood thinner used to prevent blood clots and strokes. An estimated two to three million Americans take blood thinners such as Xarelto. Xarelto treats health conditions like atrial fibrillation (a heart dysrhythmia), which affects up to six million people in America.

Uncontrolled atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke, which is ranked as the fourth-highest cause of death and the number one reason for disability among American adults. It is safe to say, then, that blood thinners such as Xarelto can be life-saving.

Side Effects of Mixing Xarelto and Alcohol

What side effects should a person look out for if they are taking Xarelto? The most worrisome side effect that concerns physicians and those who take blood thinners is bleeding. Blood thinners actively thin the blood and prevent it from coagulating or forming clots, which is especially important for those at risk for strokes.

However, because the blood is thinned, it may lead to some unwanted or even dangerous bleeding.

Common, or “nuisance bleeding” that is not life-threatening includes:

  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Bleeding from shaving lasting up to five minutes
  • Prolonged bleeding from superficial cuts or tears to the skin

Life-threatening bleeding events can also occur when someone is taking Xarelto.

What impact does alcohol consumption have on these risk factors? Alcohol is a substance known to thin the blood, with some studies showing that the moderate use of alcohol can even act as a potential blood thinner. Therefore, it is important that individuals who take blood thinners such as Xarelto exercise extreme caution when it comes to the consumption of alcohol.

Mixing Xarelto and alcohol can increase the risk for major bleeding episodes such as:

  • Blood present in the urine or stool
  • Coughing up blood or blood clots
  • Any bleeding from a wound or cut lasting longer than 10 minutes
  • Heavier than normal menstrual flow
  • Abnormal bruising that grows in size
  • Severe headaches

All of these side effects are signs that a person may have uncontrolled bleeding and should seek immediate medical help.

Other risks of mixing Xarelto and alcohol include an increased risk of experiencing a stroke, falling and injury to the body.

If you or someone you know is taking Xarelto and exhibits risky behavior concerning alcohol consumption, please reach out to us at The Recovery Village. You can contact us at one of our many locations, or speak to one of our representatives concerning one of our comprehensive treatment plans.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Karen Vieira, PhD
Dr. Karen Vieira has a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Read more

National Blood Clot Alliance. “Living Your Best Life While Taking Blood Thinners.” Accessed April 24, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Atrial Fibrillation Fact Sheet.” August 22, 2017. Accessed April 24, 2019.

Ovbiagele, B., Nguyen-Huynh, M.N. “Stroke Epidemiology: Advancing Our Under[…]echanism and Therapy.” July, 21, 2011. Accessed April 24, 2019.

Sciencedaily.com. “Moderate Alcohol Consumption Can Act As A ‘Blood Thinner.’” October 14, 2005. Accessed April 24, 2019.

NHS. “Rivaroxaban.” July 2, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2019.

Mitchell, Steve. “Don’t Drink Alcohol While Taking These Medications.” Consumer Reports, December 29, 2016. Accessed April 24, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.