Abstract

The direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have a wide therapeutic index, few drug interaction, no dietary interactions and do not require dose adjustment according to the results of routine coagulation testing. Despite these advantages over warfarin, the DOACs remain high risk medications. There is evidence that non-adherence, off-label dosing and inadequate care transitions during DOAC therapy increase the risk of bleeding and thromboembolic complications. Although DOACs are approved for a growing number of indications, there remain patient populations who are not good candidates. Existing expertise within an Anticoagulation Management Service (AMS) should be leveraged to optimize all anticoagulant therapies including the DOACs. The AMS can facilitate initial drug therapy selection and dose management, reinforce patient education and adherence as well as managing drug interactions and invasive procedures. In the event that a transition to warfarin is warranted, the AMS is already engaged which limits the risk of fragmented patient care and ensures that therapeutic anticoagulation is re-established in a timely manner. The AMS of the future will provide comprehensive management for all patients receiving anticoagulant medications and continue to provide anticoagulation expertise to the healthcare team.

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