How to effectively manage the event of bleeding complications when using anticoagulants

Maria Teresa Sartori, Paolo Prandoni
Expert Review of Hematology 2016, 9 (1): 37-50
Since affecting hemostasis, all the anticoagulant drugs carry a risk of bleeding. Minor bleeds may be managed without the need to reverse the anticoagulant effect, which is instead a key step to ensure efficacious hemostasis in major and life-threatening bleeding. Drug withdrawal applies to all anticoagulants. Unfractionated heparin can be neutralized by protamine, which may partly neutralize low-molecular-weight heparins. There is no antidote for fondaparinux, and recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) may be considered for critical bleeding. For vitamin K antagonists-induced major bleeding, rapid reversal with prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) or plasma and intravenous vitamin K to confer lasting correction are recommended. PCC, activated PCC and rFVIIa are suggested for major bleeding related to new direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC), despite proper studies are lacking. Premarketing studies are ongoing on new antidotes (idarucizumab, andexanet, aripazine), which appear to be suitable for the treatment of DOAC-induced life-threatening hemorrhage.

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