Anticoagulation Therapy in Children

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is very uncommon in children and adolescents compared with older adults, though its incidence has significantly increased over the past two decades. Given the rarity of the condition, the data on pediatric VTE lag behind the adult experience and consequently the management of VTE in children is, in large part, modeled on the adult strategies. This approach has certain limitations, given that young children have developmental particularities of the hemostatic system and differences in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of various anticoagulant agents. The most commonly used anticoagulants in children continue to be the heparins and the vitamin K antagonists. Direct intravenous thrombin inhibitors, argatroban, bivalirudin, have very limited pediatric use. The non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant drugs (novel oral anticoagulants) present potential advantages in terms of efficacy, safety, and convenience, though pediatric data are limited to preclinical and small phase I trials. There are several ongoing phase I, II, and III trials for dabigatran rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban, the results of which are likely to change the future management of pediatric thromboses.

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