New oral anticoagulants: which one should my patient use?
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The new oral anticoagulants are rapidly replacing warfarin for several indications. In contrast to warfarin, which lowers the functional levels of all of the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors, the new agents target either factor Xa or thrombin. With targeted inhibition of coagulation, the new oral anticoagulants have pharmacologic and clinical features that distinguish them from warfarin. Focusing on these features, this paper (a) compares the pharmacology of the new oral anticoagulants with that of warfarin (b) identifies the class effects of these drugs and their differentiating features, (c) reviews their current indications, and (d) uses this information to help clinicians make informed decisions regarding the choice of the right anticoagulant for the right patient.
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