Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an increased risk of embolic stroke. Dose-adjusted vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) to a target international normalized ratio (INR) range of 2.0-3.0 reduce the risk of ischemic stroke and are currently recommended in all patients with AF at moderate-high risk for stroke or systemic embolism. However, VKAs have several drawbacks, including unpredictable anticoagulant response, food and drug interactions, need for regular laboratory monitoring and dose adjustment. These limitations prompted the introduction of new oral anticoagulants (NOA) that target thrombin and factor Xa, key-enzymes in the coagulation pathway. NOA have predictable pharmacodynamics, allowing fixed dosing without the need of laboratory monitoring, and have few drug and food interactions. The present review focuses on pharmacological properties, safety, and appropriate clinical use of dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Oral anticoagulants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Internal Medicine