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Rev Clin Esp. 2012 Jan;212 Suppl 1:3-7. doi: 10.1016/S0014-2565(12)70010-3.

[New advances in anticoagulation: is it time to forget about heparin and vitamin K antagonists? Yes].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad Clínica de Gestión de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, España.


For the last 60 years, heparin and vitamin K antagonists have been the cornerstone of anticoagulation. Nowadays, the new anticoagulants, such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban, show potential advantages over classical treatments. These agents inhibit specific coagulation factors and are administered orally at fixed doses. Furthermore, heparin and vitamin K antagonists have a fast onset of action, short-duration and predictable therapeutic effects. No interactions with foods have been described, although some drug-drug interactions have been reported. At the moment, no antidotes are available. However, due to the short half-life of these agents, antidotes are less essential. The new anticoagulants are at least as effective and safe as traditional treatments in the prevention of venous thromboembolism after orthopedic surgery, as well as in the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Dabigatran and rivaroxaban have also been shown to be effective in the treatment of acute venous thromboembolism. Due to their properties, these drugs could gradually replace heparin and especially vitamin K antagonists. Hopefully, many of our patients will be able to discontinue classical anticoagulant treatment and others will never begin it.

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