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J Thromb Haemost. 2005 Jan;3(1):103-11.

A new oral direct thrombin inhibitor, dabigatran etexilate, compared with enoxaparin for prevention of thromboembolic events following total hip or knee replacement: the BISTRO II randomized trial.

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Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Ostra, Göteborg, Sweden.



Dabigatran etexilate is an oral direct thrombin inhibitor undergoing evaluation for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) following orthopedic surgery.


In a multicenter, parallel-group, double-blind study, 1973 patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement were randomized to 6-10 days of oral dabigatran etexilate (50, 150 mg twice daily, 300 mg once daily, 225 mg twice daily), starting 1-4 h after surgery, or subcutaneous enoxaparin (40 mg once daily) starting 12 h prior to surgery. The primary efficacy outcome was the incidence of VTE (detected by bilateral venography or symptomatic events) during treatment.


Of the 1949 treated patients, 1464 (75%) patients were evaluable for the efficacy analysis. VTE occurred in 28.5%, 17.4%, 16.6%, 13.1% and 24% of patients assigned to dabigatran etexilate 50, 150 mg twice daily, 300 mg once daily, 225 mg twice daily and enoxaparin, respectively. A significant dose-dependent decrease in VTE occurred with increasing doses of dabigatran etexilate (P < 0.0001). Compared with enoxaparin, VTE was significantly lower in patients receiving 150 mg twice daily [odds ratio (OR) 0.65, P = 0.04], 300 mg once daily (OR 0.61, P = 0.02) and 225 mg twice daily (OR 0.47, P = 0.0007). Compared with enoxaparin, major bleeding was significantly lower with 50 mg twice daily (0.3% vs. 2.0%, P = 0.047) but elevated with higher doses, nearly reaching statistical significance with the 300 mg once-daily dose (4.7%, P = 0.051).


Oral administration of dabigatran etexilate, commenced early in the postoperative period, was effective and safe across a range of doses. Further optimization of the efficacy/safety balance will be addressed in future studies.

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