The potential of target-specific oral anticoagulants for the acute and long-term treatment of venous thromboembolism
Curr Med Res Opin
Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) comprises both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. VTE is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and its increasing incidence and prevalence are a major health concern. The primary medical objective during the acute phase of VTE treatment is to prevent thrombus extension and embolization. Extended treatment aims to prevent or minimize long-term complications, such as recurrent VTE, post-thrombotic syndrome and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Scope: Anticoagulant therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for VTE and traditionally involves initial therapy with heparin, overlapping with and followed by a vitamin K antagonist. Although effective, standard heparin/vitamin K antagonist therapy has several limitations that can be overcome by more recently developed target-specific oral anticoagulants (TSOACs). These agents have predictable pharmacokinetics, a rapid onset of action and few drug-drug or drug-food interactions. Furthermore, TSOACs offer convenient anticoagulation without the need for routine coagulation monitoring and dose adjustment. Findings: The efficacy and safety data from phase III clinical trials support the use of TSOACs for VTE treatment, including in special patient populations. Risk-stratification tools and strategies have been developed to assist physicians in managing anticoagulation treatment. Conclusions: Rivaroxaban is the first TSOAC to gain widespread approval for the treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and the long-term prevention of recurrent VTE as monotherapy. Dabigatran has also been approved for this indication recently. TSOACs, especially as monotherapy, represent a paradigm shift in clinical practice for the management of patients with VTE.
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine