Warfarin limits the synthesis of y-glutamyl carboxylated forms of coagulation factors, factor II, factor VII, factor IX, and factor X, protein C, and protein S and as a result impairs the function of these proteins. In contrast, direct inhibitors of thrombin only affect one enzyme in the coagulation cascade. The aim of this study was to investigate the antithrombotic effect and the slope of the dose-response curves of the multifactorial coagulation inhibitor warfarin in comparison with the single factor low-molecular-weight thrombin inhibitors melagatran and inogatran. An arterial thrombosis model in rats was used, and vessel damage was induced by topical application of ferric chloride to the carotid artery. The slopes of the dose-response curves were 3.6, 1.8, 1.1, and 1.2, for warfarin, heparin, inogatran, and melagatran, respectively. For warfarin the antithrombotic effect increased from 23% to 81% when the dose was doubled. In contrast, 10-fold increases in the doses of inogatran and melagatran were necessary to obtain a similar increase in antithrombotic effect. The doses needed to obtain 80% antithrombotic effect for heparin, warfarin, and melagatran were investigated in a tail transection bleeding model. For heparin, this dose significantly prolonged the bleeding time and the blood loss; for warfarin, only the total bleeding time was increased while for melagatran there was no increase in bleeding. We conclude that, thrombin inhibitors affecting only one enzyme in the coagulation cascade seem preferable to inhibitors affecting multiple enzymes, such as warfarin, due to shallower dose-response curves and a wider therapeutic interval.