Pharmacokinetic drug interactions of the non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs)
Abstract The use of warfarin, the most commonly prescribed oral anticoagulant, is being questioned by clinicians worldwide due to warfarin several limitations (a limited therapeutic window and significant variability in dose-response among individuals, in addition to a potential for drug-drug interactions). Therefore, the need for non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) with a rapid onset of antithrombotic effects and a predictable pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) profile led to the approval of five new drugs: the direct factor Xa (F-Xa) inhibitors rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban and betrixaban (newly approved by FDA) and the direct thrombin (factor-IIa) inhibitor dabigatran etexilate. The advantages of NOACs over warfarin are a fixed-dosage, the absence of the need for drug monitoring for changes in anti-coagulation and fewer clinically significant PK and PD drug–drug interactions. NOACs exposure will likely be increased by the administration of strong P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4-inhibitors and may increase the risk of bleeds. On the contrary, P-gp inducers could significantly decrease the NOACs plasma concentration with an associated reduction in their anticoagulant effects. This manuscript gives an overview of NOACs PK profiles and their drug-drug interactions potential. This is meant to be of help to physicians in choosing the best therapeutic approach for their patients.