Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 1015–1018 | Cite as

Has time come for the use of direct oral anticoagulants in the extended prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in acutely ill medical patients? No

  • Francesco Marongiu
  • Doris BarcellonaEmail author


Acutely ill hospitalized medical patients are at high risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Although thromboprophylaxis in these patients is recommended since 2004 by the American College of Chest Physicians, it is widely underused. The doubt as to whether or not to treat patients at high VTE risk after hospital discharge came from the knowledge that this risk may persist after the hospital admission period. Two meta-analyses comparing extended- versus short-duration prophylaxis are published. The results demonstrate an unfavorable balance between VTE prevention and incidence of major bleeding in patients assigned to extended-duration thromboprophylaxis. Only in the APEX study, betrixaban, a direct inhibitor of factor Xa, shows similar efficacy and safety compared to enoxaparin. However, while it is very promising, oral anticoagulant phase III studies and post-marketing registers are lacking. Moreover, betrixaban has a long half-life, an excretion in the gut by means of P-glycoprotein, and the lack of an antidote. These characteristics and the meta-analysis results prompt us to answer no to the extended thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized medical patients, at least now.


Direct oral anticoagulants Venous thromboembolism Extended thromboprophylaxis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not required for this type of study.


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Copyright information

© SIMI 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Sciences and Public HealthUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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