New oral anticoagulants (NOAC) are becoming available as alternatives to warfarin to prevent systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation and for the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism. An in-depth understanding of their pharmacology is invaluable for appropriate prescription and optimal management of patients receiving these drugs should unexpected complications (such as bleeding) occur, or the patient requires urgent surgery. The Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis has set out to inform physicians on the use of the different NOAC based on current available evidence focusing on: (i) selection of the most suitable patient groups to receive NOAC, (ii) laboratory measurements of NOAC in appropriate circumstances and (iii) management of patients taking NOAC in the perioperative period, and strategies to manage bleeding complications or 'reverse' the anticoagulant effects for urgent invasive procedures.
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