EHRA Practical Guide on the use of new oral anticoagulants in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: executive summary

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
European Heart Journal (Impact Factor: 14.72). 04/2013; 34(27). DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht134
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT New oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are an alternative for vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) to prevent stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Both physicians and patients will have to learn how to use these drugs effectively and safely in specific clinical situations. This text is an executive summary of a practical guide that the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) has assembled to help physicians in the use of the different NOACs. The full text is being published in EP Europace. Practical answers have been formulated for 15 concrete clinical scenarios: (i) practical start-up and follow-up scheme for patients on NOACs; (ii) how to measure the anticoagulant effect of NOACs; (iii) drug-drug interactions and pharmacokinetics of NOACs; (iv) switching between anticoagulant regimens; (v) ensuring compliance of NOAC intake; (vi) how to deal with dosing errors; (vii) patients with chronic kidney disease; (viii) what to do if there is a (suspected) overdose without bleeding, or a clotting test is indicating a risk of bleeding?; (ix) management of bleeding complications; (x) patients undergoing a planned surgical intervention or ablation; (xi) patients undergoing an urgent surgical intervention; (xii) patients with AF and coronary artery disease; (xiii) cardioversion in a NOAC-treated patient; (xiv) patients presenting with acute stroke while on NOACs; (xv) NOACs vs. VKAs in AF patients with a malignancy. Since new information is becoming available at a rapid pace, an EHRA web site with the latest updated information accompanies the guide ( It also contains links to the ESC AF Guidelines, a key message pocket booklet, print-ready files for a proposed universal NOAC anticoagulation card, and feedback possibilities. © 2013 Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2013. For permissions please email: [email protected]
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    • "Most patients were receiving additional medications at the time of the study, some of which could influence NOAC metabolism [22,23], including antidepressants (n = 8), antidiabetics (n = 1), anxiolytics (n = 10), beta-blockers (n = 8), ACE inhibitors (n = 8), lipid-lowering agents (n = 11), protein pump inhibitor (PPI) (n = 6), levothyroxine (n = 3), diuretics (n = 5), aspirin (n = 4), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (n = 2), lanoxin (n = 1), allopurinol (n = 2), amiodarone (n = 4), and medication for prostatic hypertrophy (n = 2). No patients were active smokers. "
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    ABSTRACT: New oral anticoagulant (NOAC) drugs are known to influence the results of some routine hemostasis tests. Further data are needed to enable routine assessment of the effects of NOAC on clotting parameters in some special circumstances. Following administration of rivaroxaban to patients, at the likely peak and trough activity times, we assessed the effects on prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin time (TT), and clotting time using Russell's viper venom, and in the presence of phospholipids and calcium reagent available as DVVreagent(R) and DVVconfirm(R). The data were used to determine an adequate NOAC plasma level based on anticoagulant activities expressed as a ratio (patients/normal, R-C). DVVconfirm as R-C could be rapidly performed, and the results were reasonably sensitive for rivaroxaban and probably for other FX inhibitors. This assay is not influenced by lupus anticoagulant and heparin, does not require purified NOAC as control, and will measure whole-plasma clotting activity. We propose a cut-off R-C value of 4.52 +/- 0.33 for safety, but clinical studies are needed to establish whether this cut-off is useful for identifying patients at increased risk of hemorrhage or exhibiting low anticoagulation effect. It also seems possible that normal R-C could indicate an absence of anticoagulant activity when rivaroxaban is discontinued due to episodes of uncontrolled bleeding during anticoagulation or for emergency surgery.
    Thrombosis Journal 03/2014; 12(1):7. DOI:10.1186/1477-9560-12-7 · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    • "P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is involved in the transport of many drugs such as the new oral anticoagulants and is another potential reason for drug interaction. Therefore, agonists or inhibitors of these pathways could affect potential drug interactions with these new therapies [39,40]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic antithrombotic therapy involves the use of anticoagulants, antiplatelets given either as monotherapy or in combination for the prevention of thrombotic complications. The most feared and sometimes fatal complication with this therapy is bleeding. It should be considered a "golden rule" that a drug or combination of drugs that maximizes efficiency (decreased thromboembolic risk) will probably be less safe (increased risk of bleeding), and this holds true either for single therapy or during combined therapy. The chances of bleeding indicated by risk tables can be useful but show only a snapshot, and the biological, social, environmental, and drug changes and therapeutic adherence also determine changes in the risk of thrombosis and bleeding. Bleeding is an eventuality that occurs in places of "locus minoris resistentiae," and the results of careful phase 3 studies thus cannot be completely predictive of outcomes when a medication is introduced on the pharmaceutical market. With the use of warfarin, the International Normalized Ratio (INR) that has been established to indicate adequately balanced therapy is between 2.0 and 3.0. With the new oral anticoagulants, the pharmaceutical companies emphasize that it is not necessary to monitor anticoagulant effects. In studies with different doses of new oral anticoagulants, however, incidence of clinically significant bleeding complications have been directly related to the doses. Therefore, therapeutic excesses can condition bleeding risk and therapeutic limitation can increase thrombotic risk, especially when short-acting drugs such as the new oral anticoagulants are used. Hence, it is imperative to establish an appropriate method for monitoring new oral anticoagulants, setting levels of safety and effectiveness through periodic dosage and monitoring of their anticoagulant effects. Therefore, we still recommend the use of anticoagulation units for monitoring during treatment with the new oral anticoagulants.
    Thrombosis Journal 02/2014; 12(1):3. DOI:10.1186/1477-9560-12-3 · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    • "Recently, the European Heart Rhythm Association published a very useful and more extensive practical guide on the use of the new agents in atrial fibrillation [31]. In this paper also drug interactions are described more in detail as well as what to do with cardioversion and with patients suffering from comorbidities: coronary artery disease treated with or without revascularisation, acute stroke and cancer. "
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation with the vitamin K antagonists acenocoumarol, phenprocoumon and warfarin reduces the risk of stroke by more than 60 %, whereas single or double antiplatelet therapy is much less effective and sometimes associated with a similar bleeding risk as vitamin K antagonists. Besides bleeding, and intracranial haemorrhage in particular, INR monitoring remains the largest drawback of vitamin K antagonists. In the last decade oral agents have been developed that directly block the activity of thrombin (factor IIa), as well as drugs that directly inhibit activated factor X (Xa), which is the first compound in the final common pathway to the activation of thrombin. These agents have been approved for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and are now reimbursed under a national guideline for their safe use. They have advantages in that they do not need monitoring and have a fast onset and offset of action, but lack an established specific antidote. This survey addresses the role of modern anticoagulation for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation.
    Netherlands heart journal: monthly journal of the Netherlands Society of Cardiology and the Netherlands Heart Foundation 09/2013; 21(11). DOI:10.1007/s12471-013-0473-0 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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