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Managing New Oral Anticoagulants in the Intensive Care Unit

Gass, Jennifer Ann PharmD, MS, BCPS; Weeks, Phillip A. PharmD, BCPS

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3182a10f41
Original Articles

Warfarin has been the mainstay of oral anticoagulation for more than half a century. Within the last several years, 2 new classes of oral anticoagulants have been introduced as potential alternatives to warfarin for certain indications. The oral direct thrombin inhibitor, dabigatran, and 2 factor Xa inhibitors, rivaroxaban and apixaban, are the newest agents approved for use in the United States. These agents have been studied in various areas including stroke prophylaxis in atrial fibrillation, prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism, and for reduction of ischemic events following acute coronary syndromes. While these agents do not require routine monitoring of international normalized ratio, these agents may be more challenging to reverse than traditional warfarin therapy. The following review will focus on describing the areas where the new oral anticoagulant agents have been studied, the basic pharmacologic characteristics of each agent, and how to appropriately manage the reversal of these agents when indicated.

Memorial Hermann—Texas Medical Center, Department of Pharmacy, Houston, Texas.

Correspondence: Jennifer Ann Gass, PharmD, MS, BCPS, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Department of Pharmacy, 6411 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030 (

There are no acknowledgement credits or disclaimers. There is no source of funding to disclose for the work herein.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins