• apixaban;
  • dabigatran;
  • NOAC;
  • rivaroxaban


As of September 2013, three new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are now available for clinical use on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia. All three are for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, and one will also be available for the treatment of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. All have been evaluated in large, multicentre randomised clinical trials. These drugs show at least equivalent efficacy to the current standard of care, the vitamin K antagonist warfarin. Major bleeding rates are overall comparable with warfarin, but there is an important reduction in intracranial bleeding of approximately 50% with all NOAC agents. The NOACs are administered in a simple, fixed dose regimen. There are a few clinically important interactions with other medications or diet. Concerns exist about the potential for irreversible bleeding in the small number of patients in which that occurs. This short report will discuss the pharmacology of these agents, the indications for use, aspects of laboratory monitoring and the management of bleeding with these agents.