How I treat with anticoagulants in 2012: new and old anticoagulants, and when and how to switch
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Two novel oral anticoagulants, dabigatran and rivaroxaban, have recently been approved. They differ in many ways from warfarin, including rapid onset of action, shorter half-life, fewer drug-drug interactions, lack of need for monitoring, and no need for titration or dose adjustments. These novel agents represent a landmark shift in anticoagulant care; however, many aspects of their use will be unfamiliar to practicing clinicians, despite the imminent widespread use of these agents in the community. The management of these anticoagulants when transitioning from or back to warfarin, around surgery or in case of major hemorrhage, requires knowledge of their pharmacokinetics and mechanism of action. Unfortunately, there is a limited evidence base to inform decisions around management of these agents. We present our practice in these settings supported, where available, with literature evidence.
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