Rivaroxaban for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism
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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common and often life-threatening cardiovascular disorder. Patients undergoing total hip replacement or total knee replacement surgery are at increased risk of VTE. In this setting, clinical practice guidelines recommend the use of low molecular weight heparins, vitamin K antagonists or fondaparinux for the prevention of VTE. However, the use of these anticoagulants is beset by practical difficulties that reduce compliance to therapy and adherence to recommended guidelines. New oral anticoagulants (OACs) that are administered in fixed doses without the need for monitoring are now being introduced to clinical practice. Rivaroxaban, dabigatran and apixaban are either approved or in advanced stages of clinical development for the prevention and/or treatment of VTE. This article provides an overview of the phase III clinical development programmes for these novel OACs, with special focus on rivaroxaban. With encouraging data already emerging, the promise of a simplified single-drug approach for VTE treatment is on the horizon.
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