The mechanism of action of rivaroxaban--an oral, direct Factor Xa inhibitor--compared with other anticoagulants

Thromb Res. 2011 Jun;127(6):497-504. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2010.09.008. Epub 2010 Oct 2.


Although results of some phase III clinical trials of new oral anticoagulants are now known, it is important to understand the mechanisms of their actions. These new agents exert their anticoagulant effect via direct inhibition of a single Factor within the coagulation cascade (such as Factor Xa or thrombin). Rivaroxaban--the first oral, direct Factor Xa inhibitor--is a small-molecule oxazolidinone derivative that binds directly and reversibly to Factor Xa via the S1 and S4 pockets. Rivaroxaban competitively inhibits Factor Xa and is more than 10,000-fold more selective for Factor Xa than other related serine proteases, and it does not require cofactors (such as antithrombin) to exert its anticoagulant effect. Unlike indirect Factor Xa inhibitors, rivaroxaban inhibits both free and clot-bound Factor Xa, as well as prothrombinase activity, thereby prolonging clotting times. Dabigatran etexilate is a direct thrombin inhibitor that inhibits both free and fibrin-bound thrombin. Although the mechanism of action differs between the direct Factor Xa and direct thrombin inhibitors, phase III studies of these new agents confirmed that both Factor Xa and thrombin are viable anticoagulation targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology*
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Morpholines / pharmacology*
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Thiophenes / pharmacology*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Morpholines
  • Thiophenes
  • Rivaroxaban