Anticoagulants reduce blood clotting and are effective in preventing and treating venous thromboembolism, stroke and myocardial infarction. New oral agents such as dabigatran and rivaroxaban have recently been approved for these indications. Dabigatran and rivaroxaban benefit from oral administration, but have a higher potential for drug interactions than low molecular weight heparins. As compared with warfarin, dabigatran and rivaroxaban have a rapid onset of action and a predictable anticoagulant effect, obviating the need for routine coagulation monitoring. Although there are few economic evaluations of anticoagulants, the existing evidence suggests that the cost-effectiveness of anticoagulants depends on the alternative with which the anticoagulant is compared and on the specific disease.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2012;3:82–87)