State of play and future direction with NOACs: An expert consensus

Vascul Pharmacol. 2018 Jul:106:9-21. doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) are cardiovascular conditions significant in contemporary practice. In both, the use of anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) has been traditionally used to prevent adverse events. However, VKA therapy is associated with challenges relating to dose maintenance, the need to monitor anticoagulation, and bleeding risks. The non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are becoming accepted as a clear alternative to VKA therapy for both AF and VTE management. The aim of this paper was to review contemporary evidence on the safety of NOACs in both conditions. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to explore key safety issues and expert consensus was achieved from eight professionals specialised in AF and VTE care. Consensus-based statements were formulated where available evidence was weak or contradictory. The expert statements in this paper form a key overview of the safety of NOACs compared with VKA therapy, and the comparative safety of different NOACs. It is apparent that a detailed patient work-up is required in order to identify and manage individual risk factors for bleeding and thrombosis prior to NOAC therapy. Additional measures, such as dose reductions, may also be used to maintain the safety of NOACs in practice.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Deep vein thrombosis; Expert consensus; Oral anticoagulants; Pulmonary embolism.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Consensus
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism / blood
  • Venous Thromboembolism / diagnosis
  • Venous Thromboembolism / drug therapy*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology


  • Anticoagulants