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Keywords:

  • duration of treatment;
  • new anticoagulants;
  • special circumstances;
  • venous thromboembolism;
  • vitamin K antagonists

Summary.  Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is most commonly initially treated with low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), fondaparinux, or unfractionated heparin, in combination with vitamin-K antagonists (VKA) for long-term treatment. VKA have some drawbacks, however, which has led to the development of new anticoagulants. Most of these new drugs can be administered orally, and have been investigated in several phase III clinical trials. The benefits of these anticoagulants include their stable therapeutic effect, reduced interactions with other medication and food, and, therefore, the reduced need for regular monitoring. The duration of anticoagulant treatment for VTE is usually 3–12 months, but depends on the balance between the risks of recurrent thrombosis, major bleeding, and the patient’s preference. Clinical decision rules to assess the risk of recurrence to tailor the duration of anticoagulant treatment are being investigated. The beneficial aspects of novel anticoagulants may prolong the duration of treatment. VTE treatment should be adjusted in special patient groups, such as in cases of malignancy, renal failure, pregnancy, or obesity. In this review, the current and future aspects of the treatment of VTE are explored.