Please login or register to print this page.

Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Increasing European uptake of ‘new’ oral anticoagulants

The new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have being widely adopted throughout much of Europe, according to a report presented by Professor Jean-Yves Le Heuzey (Paris Descartes University) at Cardiostim 2014, held recently in Nice, France.

With their introduction in 2008, NOACs are no longer considered to be that ‘new’ and the acronym is gradually being replaced by DOAC or direct oral anticoagulants. They now represent some 30% of anticoagulant use in France, around 55% in Germany, 25% in Spain, 20% in the UK and 10% in Italy, said Professor Le Heuzey.

DOACs appear as effective as vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) in terms of anticoagulation efficacy but they “share the same potential side effect- haemorrhage”. However the risk-benefit balance “tips in favour” of DOACs and vigilant monitoring in Europe has shown that they are not associated with a higher risk of bleeding than earlier generation anticoagulants. Encouragingly, the risk of intracerebral bleeding is also reduced by 40% compared with VKAs, Professor Le Heuzey added.

Factors which increase bleeding risk in patients taking DOACs are age over 75 years, weight of less than 60 kg, concurrent ingestion of certain medicines and existing renal insufficiency. However, unlike with VKAs, coagulation status does not need to be assessed routinely and “the dosage remains fixed,” he said.

Professor Jean-Yves Le Heuzey (Paris Descartes University)

Professor Jean-Yves Le Heuzey (Paris Descartes University)

Given the ease of use and the potential to miss a dose, patients taking DOACs need to “follow their prescription to the letter” as these medicines have a half-life of around 12 hours, which is much shorter than the VKAs, which can be active for up to several days, he added.

Professor Le Heuzey referred to their cost as an “inconvenience of the NOACs,” concluding that “unfortunately physicians do not set the price of medicine”.

Published on: June 26, 2014

Members Area

Log in or Register now.

 For healthcare professionals only
Learning sky



Subscribe to our RSS feed


Sign up for our regular email newsletters & be the first to know about fresh articles and site updates.


    None Found


  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

You are not logged in

You need to be a member to print this page.
Sign up for free membership, or log in.

You are not logged in

You need to be a member to download PDF's.
Sign up for free membership, or log in.