Current status of oral anticoagulant reversal strategies: a review
Utilization of direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) have steadily increased since their approval and are now recommended over warfarin for both stroke prevention in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation and treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE). With increased DOAC use, the number of major bleeding events requiring medical intervention will continue to rise. Until 2015, warfarin maintained an advantage as the only oral anticoagulant with a specific reversal agent. Since then, idarucizumab has been approved for dabigatran reversal and recently, andexanet alfa was granted approval for the reversal of apixaban or rivaroxaban in patients with life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding events. Due to the manufacturing practices required to yield these reversal therapies, they are available at high cost to hospital systems and as a result, have been met with resistance. Data exists describing both prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) and andexanet alfa for DOAC reversal, however, without head-to-head comparison. Until future studies are available, current literature must be critically evaluated to aid in the clinical decision-making process of how to treat patients with life-threatening DOAC-related bleeding.