Semin Thromb Hemost 2019; 45(05): 490-501
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1692703
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Current and Emerging Direct Oral Anticoagulants: State-of-the-Art

Giuseppe Lippi
1  Section of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Robert Gosselin
2  Thrombosis and Hemostasis Center, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California, United States
Emmanuel J. Favaloro
3  Department of Haematology, Sydney Centers for Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), NSW Health Pathology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
19 June 2019 (online)


Anticoagulant drugs comprise a specific subcategory of antithrombotic agents that act to inhibit blood coagulation at various stages, reducing clot development and ultimately lowering the risk of developing new-onset or recurrent thrombosis. Although the long history of anticoagulant drugs has been characteristically shaped by coumarin and heparin derivatives, a new generation of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), which specifically inhibit thrombin or activated factor X, combine many advantages of their progenitor drugs, and hence are prepotently revolutionizing the landscape of antithrombotic therapy. Several drugs (apixaban [BMS-562247], dabigatran [BIBR953], edoxaban [DU-1766], rivaroxaban [BAY 59–7939]) have already received widespread approval by national or supranational medicinal agencies. This narrative article provides a state-of-the-art for these and for several other DOACs at different stages of clinical evaluation (betrixaban, darexaban, eribaxaban, letaxaban, nokxaban), and certain others whose development has been discontinued (AZD-0837, fidexaban, LY517717, odiparcil, otamixaban, TTP889, and ximelagatran). What clearly emerges from our analysis is that DOACs sharing very similar mechanisms of action are still characterized by different efficacy and safety profiles. This not only depends on biochemical, biological, and pharmacokinetic characteristics, but also on lack of standardization between different clinical trials in terms of targeted disease, patient recruitment, sample size, duration and endpoints, as well as lack of harmonization around procedures used for drug licensing. These factors contribute to challenging the minds of physicians, who may find difficulty navigating their way through multiple indications, different pharmacological profiles, various side effects, and specific drug-to-drug interactions. Such considerations also burden laboratory professionals, who may face organizational and economic challenges in developing and/or implementing multiple assays to assess the pharmacodynamics (effect on coagulation) or pharmacokinetics (drug levels) of DOACs.