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Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2011 Sep;10(3):117-27. doi: 10.1097/HPC.0b013e3182315c03.

Dabigatran: a review of clinical and pharmacoeconomic evidence.

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  • 1Center for Drug Policy, Partners Healthcare, Needham, MA, USA.


Dabigatran etexilate is the first commercially available oral direct thrombin inhibitor. A single trial has studied patients at risk for stroke associated with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation; in this trial, dabigatran 150 mg twice a day met the criteria for superiority over warfarin in preventing stroke and systemic embolism while reducing the rate of hemorrhagic stroke with a similar risk of major bleeding. For the treatment of venous thromboembolism, dabigatran 150 mg twice a day had comparable efficacy and safety versus warfarin. In contrast, dabigatran was less effective than enoxaparin 30 mg twice a day in venous thromboembolism prevention in orthopedic surgery. Advantages of dabigatran over warfarin include its lack of need for routine laboratory monitoring, a fixed-dose regimen, and potentially fewer clinically important drug interactions. Concerns include higher incidences of dyspepsia and gastrointestinal bleeding, twice-daily dosing, and lack of effective antidote. Additional drawbacks include higher drug cost versus warfarin, accumulation in case of renal impairment, higher discontinuation rates due to adverse events, and limited long-term safety and trial data. From a payer perspective, overall costs will be higher with dabigatran compared with warfarin, but dabigatran does meet the threshold to be considered a cost-effective therapy. In addition, the lack of need for regular laboratory monitoring is a quality of life advantage for patients on dabigatran. These observations suggest that dabigatran is a valuable addition to the therapeutic armamentarium for stroke prevention in selected patients with atrial fibrillation although caution should be exercised given the limited data on this agent and higher cost.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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