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Herz. 2012 Jun;37(4):370-7. doi: 10.1007/s00059-012-3617-x.

[New anticoagulants for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation].

[Article in German]

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Klinik f├╝r Neurologie, Universit├Ątsklinikum Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, 45147, Essen, Deutschland.


Oral anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists (warfarin, phenprocoumon) is successful in both primary and secondary stroke prevention for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), yielding a 60-70% relative reduction in stroke risk compared with placebo and a mortality reduction of 26%. However, these agents have a number of well documented shortcomings. This review describes the current landscape and developments in stroke prevention in patients with AF with special reference to secondary prevention. A number of new drugs for oral anticoagulation that do not exhibit the limitations of vitamin K antagonists are under investigation. These include direct factor Xa inhibitors and direct thrombin inhibitors. Recent studies (RE-LY, ROCKET-AF, AVERROES, ARISTOTLE) provide promising results for these new agents including higher efficacy and significantly lower incidences of intracranial bleeding compared with warfarin. The new substances show similar results in secondary as well as in primary stroke prevention in patients with AF. The new anticoagulants add to the therapeutic options for patients with AF and offer a number of advantages over warfarin for both clinician and patient, including a favorable bleeding profile and convenience of use. Consideration of these new anticoagulants will improve clinical decision-making.

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