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Vasa. 2012 May;41(3):177-91. doi: 10.1024/0301-1526/a000184.

Novel oral anticoagulants--key messages for the angiologist.

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  • 1Institut für Experimentelle Onkologie und Therapieforschung, TU München, Munich, Germany.


Novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have become available for different clinical indications such as the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after major orthopaedic surgery, for the treatment of VTE and stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). One thrombin inhibitor (dabigatran etexilate) and two factor Xa-inhibitors (rivaroxaban and apixaban) are the most advanced NOACs and therefore, up-to-date information on their evidence and use in clinical practice appears timely. In this review we give a concise overview of the pharmacology and clinical evidence derived from phase 3 clinical trials. Then the meaningfulness of laboratory testing is discussed and recommendations are given for clinical scenarios that may necessitate adjustment of their use. We conclude that NOACs are valuable alternatives to heparins or vitamin K antagonists (VKA) in the prevention and treatment of VTE and for the prevention of stroke in patients with AF. Prescribers should however be aware of special situations and patient populations where the manufacturers' instructions need to be carefully followed. In particular, patients with comorbidities and co-medications may require individual decision making in order to prevent bleeding complications.

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