The present study began with mathematical modeling of how inhibitors of both factor Xa (fXa) and thrombin affect extrinsic pathway-triggered blood coagulation. Numerical simulation demonstrated a stronger inhibition of thrombin generation by a thrombin inhibitor than a fXa inhibitor, but both prolonged clot time to a similar extent when they were given an equal dissociation constant (30 nm) for interaction with their respective target enzymes. These differences were then tested by comparison with the real inhibitors DX-9065a and argatroban, specific competitive inhibitors of fXa and thrombin, respectively, with similar K(i) values. Comparisons were made in extrinsically triggered human citrated plasma, for which endogenous thrombin potential and clot formation were simultaneously measured with a Wallac multilabel counter equipped with both fluorometric and photometric detectors and a fluorogenic reporter substrate. The results demonstrated stronger inhibition of endogenous thrombin potential by argatroban than by DX-9065a, especially when coagulation was initiated at higher tissue factor concentrations, while argatroban appeared to be slightly less potent in its ability to prolong clot time. This study demonstrates differential inhibition of thrombin generation by fXa and thrombin inhibitors and has implications for the pharmacological regulation of blood coagulation by the anticoagulant protease inhibitors.