Anticoagulants and their reversal

Transfus Med Rev. 2007 Jan;21(1):37-48. doi: 10.1016/j.tmrv.2006.08.002.


In an exciting era with many alternatives to the old anticoagulants heparin and warfarin emerging on the scene, awareness of the possibility to reverse their effect is mandatory. In this review, the traditional antidotes for warfarin (vitamin K, plasma, and prothrombin complex concentrate) and for heparin (protamine) are described together with the newer alternatives (recombinant activated factor VII, concatameric peptides, and recombinant platelet factor 4). For some of the newer anticoagulants, possible antidotes have been identified, whereas other alternatives have been discarded. There is a very limited experience of deamino-d-arginine vasopressin or a von Willebrand factor VIII concentrate to counteract hirudin. The small direct thrombin inhibitors may be reversed with activated prothrombin complex concentrate but not with recombinant activated factor VII, whereas the latter agent appears to be effective against the pentasaccharides and the recombinant nematode anticoagulant protein C2. Additional options that may become available in the future are also discussed briefly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Drug Antagonism
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Heparin Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Warfarin / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin Antagonists
  • Warfarin
  • Heparin