Anticoagulation for Noncardiac Indications in Neurologic Patients: Comparative Use of Non-Vitamin K Oral Anticoagulants, Low-Molecular-Weight Heparins, and Warfarin

Neurologic Manifestations of Systemic Disease (A Pruitt, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neurologic Manifestations of Systemic Disease

Opinion statement

Patients with neurologic disorders may develop a wide variety of thromboembolic events, both as a primary manifestation and as a consequence of their underlying neurologic condition. There are many available options for anticoagulation, ranging from warfarin to the parenteral subcutaneously administered anticoagulants to the non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs). Warfarin is orally available, well-studied, and easily reversible in the setting of bleeding, but has a prolonged onset of action, measured in days, and equally slow offset; requires frequent monitoring for dose titration; and has multiple drug-drug and food-drug interactions. Parenteral heparin-based anticoagulants are well-studied and have more predictable pharmacokinetics but are often more expensive, only partially reversible, and require daily injections, which can be difficult for patients to tolerate over long periods of time. The NOACs are easy to administer and have predictable pharmacokinetics but are expensive, not easily reversible, and are not as extensively studied. Specific agents are preferable in some defined neurologic conditions. For acute ischemic stroke, we do not recommend immediate anticoagulation with any agent. For patients with intracranial malignancy (either primary or metastatic), we recommend a low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) rather than warfarin or a NOAC. For thromboembolic disease in the setting of spinal cord injury, warfarin, LMWH, or the NOACs are reasonable options. In the setting of VTE or stroke related to antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), we recommend long-term warfarin anticoagulation with an INR goal of 2–3, pending the results of ongoing research involving the NOACs. For cerebral venous sinus thrombosis not related to malignancy or APS, we recommend the use of LMWH in the acute setting, followed by at least three months of warfarin. In this article, we discuss the pharmacology, pathophysiology, and comparative research that served as a basis for our recommendations.

Keywords

Anticoagulation Venous thromboembolism Ischemic stroke Intracranial malignancy Spinal cord injury Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hematology and Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of HematologyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA

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