The objectives were to investigate whether activation of the extrinsic coagulation cascade by recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) reverses the inhibition of thrombin generation and platelet activation by melagatran, the active form of the oral direct thrombin inhibitor ximelagatran. In a single-blind, randomized, parallel-group study, volunteers (20 per group) received a 5-hour intravenous (i.v.) infusion to achieve steady-state melagatran plasma concentrations of approximately 0.5 micromol/L, with a single i.v. bolus of rFVIIa (90 microg/kg) or placebo at 60 minutes. Prothrombin fragment 1+2, thrombin-anti-thrombin complex, fibrinopeptide A, beta-thromboglobulin, and thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor were quantified for venous and shed blood. Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), prothrombin time (PT), endogenous thrombin potential, thrombus precursor protein (TpP), and plasmin-alpha(2)-antiplasmin complex concentrations were determined in venous blood. Shed blood volume was measured. Melagatran reduced markers of thrombin generation and platelet activation in shed blood and prolonged APTT. rFVIIa increased FVIIa activity, PT, and TpP in venous blood. All other parameters were unaffected. In conclusion, rFVIIa did not reverse the anticoagulant effects of high constant concentrations of melagatran. However, the potential value of higher, continuous or repeated doses of rFVIIa or its use with lower melagatran concentrations has not been excluded.