Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2023 May 27. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2023.2219391. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Although much progress has been made using anticoagulation for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, bleeding is still a major concern.
AREAS COVERED: This article reviews current pharmacotherapeutic options in this setting. Particular emphasis is placed on the ability of the new molecules to minimize the bleeding risk in elderly patients. A systematic search of PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library up to March 2023 was carried out.
EXPERT OPINION: Contact phase of coagulation is a possible new target for anticoagulant therapy. Indeed, congenital or acquired deficiency of contact phase factors is associated with reduced thrombotic burden and limited risk of spontaneous bleeding. These new drugs seem particularly suitable for stroke prevention in elderly patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation in whom the hemorrhagic risk is high. Most of anti Factor XI (FXI) drugs are for parenteral use only. A group of small molecules are for oral use and therefore are candidates to substitute direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for stroke prevention in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation. Doubts remain on the possibility of impaired hemostasis. Indeed, a fine calibration of inhibition of contact phase factors is crucial for an effective and safe treatment.