Fast forward now to 2010 and we see that the FDA advisory committee (not the FDA, but the FDA advisory committee) unanimously today recommended the approval of dabigatran. This means that the FDA will probably approve dabigatran in the near future, but we still need to wait and see. Meanwhile, a host of other new anticoagulant drugs are waiting in line.
So what are these new oral anticoagulants? Let's see what Wikipedia has to say:
- Direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs) are a class of medication that act as anticoagulants (delaying blood clotting) by directly inhibiting the enzyme thrombin. Agents in the pipeline include: dabigatran, melagatran (and its prodrug ximelagatran), and others.
- Direct factor Xa inhibitors ('xabans') are a class of antithrombotics which act directly upon Factor X in the coagulation cascade, without using antithrombin as a mediator. Agents in the pipeline include: rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban, otamixaban, and others.
Physicians will need to be more familiar with the pharmacological profiles (half-life, interactions, etc.) as they choose among the myriad of available agents when they're treating patients with atrial fibrillation, DVT, or PE. Hospitalized patients at risk for DVT may no longer need to suffer from multiple injections if they simply need to take a pill. These emerging agents may also be used for patients who have artificial heart valves, those who have other types of hypercoagulable disorders, and more.
Back in 2006, we thought we were going to see a revolution in anticoagulation management, but it didn't happen. Now, in 2010, it appears like we may truly be looking at a new era.