Scientific article
Open access

Direct oral anticoagulants: a guide for daily practice

Published inSchweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, vol. 146, w14286
Publication date2016

In recent years, small oral compounds that specifically block activated coagulation factor X (FXa) or thrombin (FIIa) have become alternatives to the anticoagulants that had been used for several decades. As of today, these direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) include dabigatran etexilate (thrombin inhibitor) and apixaban, edoxaban and rivaroxaban (inhibitors of FXa). While there is no doubt that DOACs represent a major step forward in the management of patients with venous thromboembolic disease and atrial fibrillation, new challenges have arisen. They need to be addressed with the necessary pragmatism on the basis of evidence. Indeed, a better understanding of the management of these last-generation antithrombotics will favour safer use and increase confidence of the practitioner for the prescription of these drugs. The aim of this article is to present practical suggestions for the prescription and use of these drugs in everyday clinical practice, based on clinical experience and recently updated recommendations of the European Heart Rhythm Association and the American College of Chest Physicians among other scientific organisations. We address issues such as pharmacokinetics, dosing, side effects, limitations of use, drug interactions, switching from and to other anticoagulants, renal function, concomitant administration of antiplatelet agents and perioperative use. We also address the issue of monitoring and reversal, taking advantage of the most recent development in this latter area. Rather than being one additional set of recommendations, our narrative review aims at assisting the practicing physician in his or her daily handling of these novel anticoagulant compounds, based on frequently asked questions to the authors, a group of experienced specialists in the field who have, however, no commitment to issue guidelines.

Citation (ISO format)
FONTANA, Pierre et al. Direct oral anticoagulants: a guide for daily practice. In: Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, 2016, vol. 146, p. w14286. doi: 10.4414/smw.2016.14286
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0036-7672

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