Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major global public health problem because it is increasing in prevalence and is associated with increased risk of stroke, dementia, heart failure and death [1, 2]. Stroke is associated with greatest mortality and morbidity in patients with AF. Strokes associated with AF are especially large and disabling, and consequently primary prevention is paramount . Antithrombotic therapy is the mainstay of stroke prevention. Vitamin K antagonists (VKA’s) have been the standard anticoagulants in stroke prophylaxis for patients with AF for decades. Despite their effectiveness, they are limited by several factors such as narrow therapeutic index, drug- drug interactions, slow onset and offset of action, hemorrhage and routine anticoagulation monitoring to maintain therapeutic international normalized ratio (INR). During recent times, various novel anticoagulants have been developed to expand the therapeutic option for stroke prevention. Apixaban is a novel oral anticoagulant which has been developed and clinically investigated for prevention of stroke in AF patients. This review discusses the pharmacological properties, results of clinical trials investigating role of apixaban for prevention of stroke and its future potential in clinical practice.
Credits: Abhishek Maan M.D.; E.Kevin Heist M.D., Ph.D.; Amir Y. Shaikh M.D.; Jeremy N. Ruskin M.D.; Moussa Mansour M.D.