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Newer anticoagulants in cardiovascular disease: a systematic review of the literature.

Author(s): Maan A, Padmanabhan R, Shaikh AY, Mansour M, Ruskin JN, Heist EK.

Affiliation(s): Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.

Publication date & source: 2012, Cardiol Rev. , 20(5):209-21

Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) such as warfarin have traditionally been the major therapeutic option for anticoagulation in clinical practice. VKAs are effective and extensively recommended for the prevention of venous and arterial thromboembolism in cardiovascular disease. Despite its effectiveness, warfarin is limited by factors such as a narrow therapeutic index, drug-drug interactions, food interactions, slow onset and offset of action, hemorrhage, and routine anticoagulation monitoring to maintain therapeutic international normalized ratio. During the last 2 decades, the approval of anticoagulants, such as low-molecular-weight heparins, indirect factor Xa inhibitors (eg, fondaparinux), and direct thrombin inhibitors (eg, argatroban, lepirudin, and desirudin), have expanded the number of available antithrombotic compounds with additional targets within the anticoagulation pathway. Although these medications offer several potential therapeutic advantages, they all require parenteral or subcutaneous administration and are substantially more expensive than VKAs. Thus, VKAs, despite several limitations, have remained the major option for most patients requiring chronic anticoagulation. These limitations have prompted interest in the development of newer oral anticoagulants. Novel anticoagulants targeting inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin (factor IIa) have now been incorporated into clinical practice based on the results of large randomized clinical trials, with the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of dabigatran for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and rivaroxaban for deep vein thrombosis and stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, with multiple other agents in various stages of development for these and other indications. This review discusses the pharmacological properties, clinical results, and therapeutic applications of novel and new anticoagulants, thereby providing an outline for the future of anticoagulation in cardiovascular disease.

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