Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Safety and effectiveness of new direct oral anticoagulants

What is the optimal use of new direct oral anticoagulants?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Vitamin K antagonist, warfarin, has traditionally been the mainstay of anticoagulation therapy. It requires frequent monitoring to maintain safe and effective dose and is associated with many food and drug interactions. A new generation of direct oral anticoagulants has been developed to overcome such shortcomings.
Two main classes of new direct oral anticoagulants are available: factor Xa inhibitors and factor IIa (thrombin) inhibitors. Their mechanism of action involves direct inhibition of a single factor within the coagulation cascade to exert an anticoagulant effect. The industry is positioning them as monitoring-free universal warfarin replacement products. However, use of new direct oral anticoagulants introduces two major clinical issues: majority of new generation anticoagulants do not have developed dose-monitoring assay and do not have antidotes to rapidly restore blood coagulation properties in patients with trauma, emergent surgery, or anticoagulation overdose. Addressing these issues would positively impact cardiovascular, pulmonary, benign hematology, and orthopedic services worldwide.
While the idea of a universal, low-maintenance, “one dose fits all” anticoagulant is highly appealing to both patients and physicians, it may be feasible to consider more targeted approach, where each new anticoagulant would be assessed for most plausible effect in the specific patient population with consideration to genetic s, sex, race, age, thrombosis history, and obesity

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Rapid advancement in the field of new generation direct oral anticoagulants and multiplicity of new drugs introduce opportunity to conduct comparative effectiveness research and assess how different characteristics of new products may be appropriate for different patients. Increased use of new direct oral anticoagulants requires expedited development of assays and antidotes for safe and efficient therapy of millions of Americans.


A challenge is that the majority of the clinical trials for new direct oral anticoagulants were conducted by the industry with the main goal of demonstrating superiority, or non-inferiority to warfarin. Secondary analyses of these trials’ data for efficacy in specific patient population may be difficult. Prospective clinical studies in this area may require large sample size and establishing collaboration between hematologists and other involved clinicians.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff



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Idea No. 320