Issue: 2018 > December > review

Trends in direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) use: health benefits and patient preference

L.A. de Jong, M. Koops, J.J. Gout-Zwart, M.J. Beinema, M.E.W. Hemels, M.J. Postma, J.R.B.J. Brouwers
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In 2012, the Dutch Health Council published a report addressing barriers for an early and broad introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). The report raised concerns about the lack of an antidote, adherence, lack of monitoring in the case of overdose and the increased budget impact at DOAC introduction. In the past decade, international studies have shown that DOACs can provide healthcare benefits for a large number of patients. This has led to an increase in the prescription of DOACs, as they are an effective and user-friendly alternative to vitamin K antagonists (VKAs). Unlike VKAs, DOACs do not need monitoring of the international normalized ratio due to more predictable pharmacokinetics. However, the number of prescriptions of DOACs in the Netherlands is still lagging, compared to other European countries. This article highlights the potential health gains in the Netherlands if the use of DOACs were to increase, based on current international experience.