, Volume 66, Issue 11, pp 1411–1429

Oral Anticoagulants in Development

Focus on Thromboprophylaxis in Patients Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery
Leading Article

DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200666110-00001

Cite this article as:
Eriksson, B.I. & Quinlan, D.J. Drugs (2006) 66: 1411. doi:10.2165/00003495-200666110-00001


Current anticoagulant provision is dominated by parenteral heparin and oral warfarin, which act by inhibiting several steps of the coagulation pathway indirectly. Recent research efforts have focused on the identification of small molecule inhibitors of the coagulation enzymes as novel therapies for thrombotic disorders. There has been particular success in developing nonpeptidic, orally available, small molecules to directly inhibit the key proteases, factor IIa and factor Xa.

Of the new oral anticoagulants in development, the two agents in the most advanced stage are dabigatran etexilate (BIBR 1048) and rivaroxaban (BAY 59-7939), which inhibit factor IIa and factor Xa, respectively. Other agents in the early stages of development include several Xa inhibitors (LY-517717, YM150, DU-176b and apixaban [BMS-562247]), a factor IXa inhibitor (TTP889), and an orally active glycosaminoglycan enhancer (odiparcil [SB-424323]), which indirectly enhances thrombin inhibition via heparin cofactor II. Results have been reported from important, phase II dose-finding studies, and a number of registration-track phase III studies have been initiated, reflecting the drive towards potentially more effective, but primarily safer and more convenient therapies for the prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thrombosis. Indeed, two unmet needs for anticoagulation that can be easily identified are safety and ease of use. Safety relates primarily to the incidence of major bleeding and this remains the key concern of orthopaedic surgeons, over and above any efficacy advantage, and convenience of use, which centres on oral administration replacing the need for injections.

The clinical development of these new anticoagulants is following the well tested strategy of dose-ranging and registration studies in major orthopaedic surgery, prior to development in arterial indications. There are a number of subtle issues, including the timing of the first perioperative dose, duration of prophylactic treatment and definition/assessment of study endpoints that can influence study outcome and require careful consideration when evaluating study results with new agents and in the comparison with established agents, and which are considered in this review.

It is anticipated that over the next 3 years, at least one of these agents will be successfully licensed for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after major orthopaedic surgery, which will act as a springboard for the gradual replacement of current anticoagulants.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopaedics DepartmentSahlgrenska University Hospital/ÖstraGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyKing’s College HospitalLondonUK