Why develop antidotes and reversal agents for non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants?
Over the past several years, non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have been introduced into clinical practice for the treatment of venous thromboembolism and prevention of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Clinical trials have shown these agents to have similar or less risk of major bleeding as compared to warfarin therapy. Moreover, when patients do experience a major bleeding event administration of advanced factor products is rare, and post-bleed outcomes are similar in those receiving a NOAC compared to those receiving warfarin. However, there are situations where urgent reversal of NOAC anticoagulation would be desirable. The following review focuses on the outcomes and management strategies for patients experiencing a major bleed with warfarin or NOAC agents and describes the rationale for the development of therapies capable of targeted NOAC-reversal.
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