Healthcare burden associated with the post-thrombotic syndrome and potential impact of the new oral anticoagulants

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Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) can have a significant impact on a patient's life. In particular, the development of post-thrombotic syndrome as a long-term complication of DVT can have devastating consequences for the individual and impose a substantial economic burden on healthcare systems. Anticoagulants are the mainstay of DVT treatment; however, the current standard of care, a parenteral anticoagulant followed by a vitamin K antagonist, is associated with complex patient management, often resulting in suboptimal therapy. New, oral anticoagulants have been developed, and a direct thrombin inhibitor - dabigatran etexilate - and two direct Factor Xa inhibitors - rivaroxaban and apixaban - have completed and/or have ongoing phase III trials in the treatment of venous thromboembolism. These agents do not have the drawbacks of the vitamin K antagonists and hold promise for more effective treatment of DVT, possibly resulting in a reduction in the incidence of post-thrombotic syndrome.

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