To clot, or not to clot – Antithrombotic therapy is the question
Haemostasis and thrombosis rely on three components namely the vascular endothelial wall, blood platelets and the coagulation cascade. Non-physiologic excessive thrombosis occurs when haemostatic processes are dysfunctional, causing undue clot formation or reduced clot lysis. Antithrombotic agents including antiplatelet, anticoagulation and fibrinolytic agents are essential for the prophylaxis and pharmacological management of venous thromboembolism and arterial thrombosis. Anticoagulation treatment options have expanded steadily over the past few decades, providing a greater number of agents. Anticoagulants that directly target the enzymatic activity of thrombin and factor Xa have recently been developed to address the inadequacies of traditional vitamin K antagonists. Appropriate use of these agents requires knowledge of their individual characteristics, risks, and benefits.