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Document Details :

Title: Dabigatran for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: from RE-LY to daily clinical practice
Author(s): H. Heidbüchel , P. Verhamme
Journal: Acta Cardiologica
Volume: 65    Issue: 5   Date: 2010   
Pages: 491-497
DOI: 10.2143/AC.65.5.2056234

Abstract :
Objective — The RE-LY trial has shown that the oral direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate is a valid replacement for oral anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) in patients with atrial fibrillation at thromboembolic risk. After a decade of failures, these results signify a breakthrough in anticoagulation management. This article summarizes the available evidence from the perspective of the practicing clinician: do the results apply to all patients with AF? And what considerations should we make when prescribing this new oral anticoagulant?
Methods and results — We review the trials searching for oral alternatives to VKA therapy, with emphasis on the RE-LY data. We have integrated available interaction data, and data on how to deal with side effects and (bleeding) complications with the direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate.
Conclusions — Dabigatran etexilate is a viable alternative to VKA, improving efficacy and safety in many respects, for many patients, and likely preferred by most patients themselves. Choosing the dose should be based on patient-specific factors. These include the presence of coronary artery disease (with potential requirement of concomitant aspirin ± clopidogrel), decreased renal function, age, low body weight, administration of other AF drugs or P-glycoprotein inhibitors, a history of gastro-intestinal bleeding, and patient compliance.