Main Article Content
The prophylaxis of thromboembolic events represents a key point in the modern management of patients with non valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), both paroxysmal and persistent/permanent. Up to now, vitamin K antagonist (VKA) drugs are the first choice in thromboembolic prophylaxis. Their treatment limitations have lead to development and clinical experimental use of new molecules aimed to overcome their limits. The new oral anticoagulants, such as dabigatran, a direct inhibitor of thrombin or rivaroxaban and apixaban, direct inhibitors of activated factor X, have been compared to warfarin in randomized clinical phase three trials (RCTs) for thromboembolic prevention in patients with non valvular AF with the aim to demonstrate their non inferiority when compared to warfarin. The results of these trials have been recently published. In this article the authors review the results of efficacy and safety of these three more recently published large RCTs.
All RCTs, RE-LY for dabigatran, ROCKET-AF for rivaroxaban and ARISTOTLE for apixaban met the study end-points and demonstrated a good safety profile of each new oral anticoagulant, so promising a new era for thromboembolic prevention therapy in AF.