Has time come for the use of direct oral anticoagulants in the extended prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in acutely ill medical patients? No

Francesco Marongiu, Doris Barcellona
Internal and Emergency Medicine 2018, 13 (7): 1015-1018
Acutely ill hospitalized medical patients are at high risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Although thromboprophylaxis in these patients is recommended since 2004 by the American College of Chest Physicians, it is widely underused. The doubt as to whether or not to treat patients at high VTE risk after hospital discharge came from the knowledge that this risk may persist after the hospital admission period. Two meta-analyses comparing extended- versus short-duration prophylaxis are published. The results demonstrate an unfavorable balance between VTE prevention and incidence of major bleeding in patients assigned to extended-duration thromboprophylaxis. Only in the APEX study, betrixaban, a direct inhibitor of factor Xa, shows similar efficacy and safety compared to enoxaparin. However, while it is very promising, oral anticoagulant phase III studies and post-marketing registers are lacking. Moreover, betrixaban has a long half-life, an excretion in the gut by means of P-glycoprotein, and the lack of an antidote. These characteristics and the meta-analysis results prompt us to answer no to the extended thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized medical patients, at least now.

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