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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 210-217

Direct-acting oral anticoagulants: An overview

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Hatem H Salem
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_83_17

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In today's practice, an increasing number of patients are prescribed anticoagulant therapy. Short-term anticoagulation as a primary or secondary prophylaxis of thrombosis is standard of care in many clinical indications. In addition, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients receiving long-term full therapeutic anticoagulation, particularly among patients with atrial fibrillation and those with venous thrombosis having a high risk of recurrence. Therefore, clinicians and patients warmly accepted the timely introduction of non-Vitamin K antagonists to clinical practice. Anticoagulants such as anti-Xaand antithrombin have been found to be effective and safe as compared with the standard of care using low-molecular-weight heparin and warfarin. Importantly, the new anticoagulants exhibit rapid onset of action and do not require regular monitoring, making them convenient and user-friendly. Another interesting and consistent observation is that the new anticoagulants have a lower incidence of intracranial bleeding as compared with warfarin therapy. However, before prescribing these drugs, clinicians should check and periodically monitor the renal function of their patients, particularly when new drugs known to affect renal function are introduced. Clinicians should also be aware that these new anticoagulants cannot be considered as a replacement for warfarin in all indications. For example, warfarin remains the drug of choice in patients with prosthetic valves and in those suffering from the antiphospholipid syndrome. Finally, clinicians should be aware and adhere to the appropriate indications for the use of these new anticoagulants and use them at their approved dosage.

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