Non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants in atrial fibrillation: Where are we now?

Mikhail S. Dzeshka, Gregory Y.h. Lip

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Atrial fibrillation (AF) confers increased risk of stroke and other thromboembolic events, and oral anticoagulation therefore is the essential part of AF management to reduce the risk of these complications. Until recently, the vitamin K antagonists (VKAs, e.g., warfarin) were the only oral anticoagulants available, acting by decreased synthesis of vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors (II, VI, IX, and X). The VKAs had many limitations: delayed onset and prolonged offset of action, variability of anticoagulant effect among patients, multiple food and drug interactions affecting pharmacological properties of warfarin, narrow therapeutic window, and obligatory regular laboratory control, which all made warfarin “inconvenient” both for patients and clinicians. The limitations of VKAs led to development of a new class of drugs collectively defined as non-VKA oral anticoagulants (NOACs), which included direct thrombin inhibitors (dabigatran) and factor Xa inhibitors (rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban). The NOACs avoid many of the VKA drawbacks. In this review, we will focus on the current evidence justifying the use of NOACs in non-valvular AF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Early online date30 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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