The role of prothrombin complex concentrates in reversal of target specific anticoagulants

Katrina Babilonia, Toby Trujillo
Thrombosis Journal 2014, 12: 8
Over the past several years a new era for patients requiring anticoagulation has arrived. The approval of new target specific oral anticoagulants offers practitioners several advantages over traditionally used vitamin K antagonist agents including predictable pharmacokinetics, rapid onset of action, comparable efficacy and safety, all without the need for routine monitoring. Despite these benefits, hemorrhagic complicates are inevitable with any anticoagulation treatment. One of the major disadvantages of the new oral anticoagulants is lack of specific antidotes or reversal agents for patients with serious bleeding or need for urgent surgery. As use of the new target specific oral anticoagulants continues to increase, practitioners will need to understand both the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetic properties of the agents, as well as, the available literature with use of non-specific therapies to reverse anticoagulation. Four factor prothrombin complex concentrates have been available for several years in Europe, and recently became available in the United States with approval of Kcentra. These products have shown efficacy in reversing anticoagulation from vitamin K antagonists, however their usefulness with the new target specific oral anticoagulants is poorly understood. This article will review the properties of dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban, as well as the limited literature available on the effectiveness of prothrombin complex concentrates in reversal of their anticoagulant effects. Additional studies are needed to more accurately define the role of prothrombin complex concentrates in patients with life threatening bleeding or who require emergent surgery, as current data is both limited and conflicting.

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