The new oral anticoagulants are rapidly replacing warfarin for several indications. In contrast to warfarin, which lowers the functional levels of all of the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors, the new agents target either factor Xa or thrombin. With targeted inhibition of coagulation, the new oral anticoagulants have pharmacological, biochemical, and clinical features distinct from those of warfarin. Focusing on laboratory perspectives, this article compares and contrasts the pharmacological and biochemical properties of the new oral anticoagulants with those of warfarin and uses this information to speculate on the underlying mechanisms responsible for the clinical features that differentiate the new agents from warfarin.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.