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J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2013 Aug;36(2):203-11. doi: 10.1007/s11239-013-0926-8.

Target specific oral anticoagulants in the management of thromboembolic disease in the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, 100 East 77th Street, New York, NY, 10075, USA.


The elderly population represents a population at highest risk of thromboembolism, but also the most vulnerable to hemorrhage. In the community setting there is a general tendency to under- treat this patient group. Specific consideration must be taken with elderly patients because they have reduced renal function, co-morbidities and risk of falls, altered pharmacodynamics, and challenges with adherence. Vitamin K antagonists, most often warfarin, have been the first line choice of therapy for long-term anticoagulation and enjoyed an unopposed position in the market for the last 70 years. Recently several new oral anticoagulants have been developed and found to be equally effective as warfarin in phase III studies and may provide an optimal treatment option in the elderly population. In this review we explore the target-specific oral anticoagulants and the pharmacological differences between them with a focus on the elderly population in whom these new drugs would constitute a possible alternative to warfarin therapy.

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