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Vitamin K antagonists were the only choice for chronic oral anticoagulation for more than half a century. Over the past few years, direct oral anticoagulants have emerged, including one direct thrombin inhibitor (dabigatran etexilate) and three factor Xa inhibitors (apixaban, edoxaban and rivaroxaban). In randomised controlled trials comparing direct oral anticoagulants with traditional vitamin K antagonists, the direct oral anticoagulants all showed a favourable benefit-risk balance in their safety and efficacy profile, in prevention of thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation and in the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism and acute coronary syndrome. In 2008, dabigatran was the first direct oral anticoagulant approved by the European Medicine Agency. Subsequently, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban were also authorised. This article reviews the evidence related to the use of these drugs.
PMID: 29295790 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]