Emerging antithrombotic agents for thromboprophylaxis, clinical potential and patient considerations
Lars C Borris
Department of Orthopedics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
Abstract: Patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery, total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are at high risk of venous thromboembolism, manifesting as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. The recommended pharmacologic treatment options for thromboprophylaxis after major orthopedic surgery include the vitamin K antagonists (VKAs eg, warfarin), low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs; eg, enoxaparin) and the synthetic pentasaccharide fondaparinux. Most clinics use some kind of thromboprophylaxis routinely. However, due to the frequent need for coagulation monitoring (VKAs) and subcutaneous injections (LMWHs and fondaparinux) barriers exist to prescribing prophylaxis after discharge from hospital. Targeting specific components of the coagulation cascade has yielded several new antithrombotic agents for use as thromboprophylaxis after THA or TKA. Two of these, dabigatran etexilate and rivaroxaban, have already reached the markets in the European Union member states and Canada. Both are administered by the oral route, once-daily fixed dose and without the need to monitor the anticoagulant effect. Whether these new drugs facilitate guideline adherence, particularly in the outpatient settings and thereby improve the overall clinical outcomes remains to be shown.
Keywords: dabigatran etexilate, rivaroxaban, thromboprophylaxis, total joint arthroplasty, venous thromboembolism
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