For more than 5 decades, warfarin has been the mainstay of therapy when oral anticoagulation is required. It has been shown to be effective in the prevention as well as treatment of various thromboembolic disorders. However, drawbacks of warfarin, such as time-consuming requirements for frequent international normalized ratio monitoring, as well as drug and food interactions, have encouraged the development of alternative oral agents. One such agent, dabigatran, has risen up to the challenge. Due to its predictable anticoagulation response, dabigatran does not require routine anticoagulation monitoring. Another advantage dabigatran has over warfarin is its more favorable drug and food interaction profiles. Dabigatran was shown to be noninferior to warfarin in studies evaluating the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation, thus leading to the US Food and Drug Administration approval for this indication. Dabigatran has also demonstrated efficacy in the prevention of venous thromboembolism in patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement surgery as well as the prevention of recurrent venous thromboembolism, although these are not current Food and Drug Administration-approved indications. The safety profile appears to be similar to warfarin with regards to overall bleeding risk, though the risk for gastrointestinal bleeds was higher in patients on dabigatran 150 mg twice daily. Disadvantages of dabigatran may include a higher frequency of dyspepsia compared with warfarin, lack of dosing information in severe renal impairment, possible missed opportunities for periodic health examinations and interventions due to elimination of regular physician's visit for international normalized ratio monitoring, and drug costs. This article provides an overview of the clinical studies, pharmacokinetic profile, adverse effects, drug interactions as well as advantages and disadvantages associated with dabigatran.
- dabigatran etexilate
- direct thrombin inhibitor
- oral anticoagulant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine