New anticoagulants for the prevention of venous thromboembolism
Cecilia Becattini, Alessandra Lignani, Giancarlo Agnelli
Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine and Stroke Unit, University of Perugia, Italy
Abstract: Anticoagulant drugs have an essential role in the prevention and treatment of thromboembolic diseases. Currently available anticoagulants substantially reduce the incidence of thromboembolic events in a number of clinical conditions. However, these agents have limitations that strengthen the case for the development of new anticoagulants. An ideal anticoagulant should be at least as effective as those currently in use, as well as safe, simple to use, and widely applicable. The majority of new anticoagulants currently under investigation are small molecules with a selective and direct anti-Xa or antithrombin action, allowing oral administration in fixed doses. These new agents are in different phases of clinical development. The anti-Xa agent rivaroxaban and the antithrombin agent dabigatran are already available for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in some countries. Apixaban is in an advanced phase of clinical development and several anti-Xa agents are currently approaching phase III clinical trials. Promising results in terms of efficacy and safety profiles have been obtained with these agents in different clinical conditions. Differences in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics could offer the potential for individualized anticoagulant therapies in the near future.
Keywords: anticoagulant therapy, antithrombotic therapy, anticoagulants, direct thrombin inhibitors, factor Xa inhibitors