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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prevention of venous thromboembolism following orthopaedic surgery: clinical potential of direct thrombin inhibitors.

Patients undergoing total hip or total knee replacement are at high risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), and are therefore considered to be populations well suited for the evaluation and dose optimisation of new anticoagulants. Deep vein thrombosis may lead to life-threatening pulmonary embolism, disabling morbidity in the form of the post-thrombotic syndrome, and risk of recurrent thrombotic events. There is increasing evidence that anticoagulant treatment for the prevention of VTE should be extended from 1 to at least 4 weeks after surgery. Anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists (such as warfarin), low molecular weight heparin or unfractionated heparin effectively lowers the risk of VTE, but these anticoagulants have limitations such as the need for coagulation monitoring and subsequent dose adjustment (vitamin K antagonists), difficulty of continuing prophylaxis out of hospital because of the requirement for parenteral administration, and risk of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The development of new anticoagulants has been pursued with the aim of finding more effective, safer and/or more convenient therapies.Thrombin is a central regulator in the coagulation and inflammation process and several direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs) with distinct pharmacological profiles, as well as pharmacological differences from the conventional anticoagulants, are currently in clinical use for certain indications or are under development. Clinical experience with parenterally administered DTIs has accumulated since the mid 1990s, although only desirudin (a recombinant hirudin) is currently approved for use in patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery. Two oral DTIs, ximelagatran and dabigatran etexilate, are in clinical development. Dabigatran etexilate has recently been evaluated in phase II clinical trials in patients undergoing total hip replacement. Several large phase III trials have now demonstrated the efficacy and safety of ximelagatran in the prevention of VTE following total hip or knee replacement. Ximelagatran can be used with an oral fixed dose without the need for coagulation monitoring or dose adjustment. Hence, it offers significant potential to facilitate the management of anticoagulation in or out of hospital.[1]


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