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March 8, 1993

Oral Anticoagulant Therapy—50 Years Later

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass.

Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(5):586-596. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410050024005

The year 1991 marked the 50th anniversary of the first clinical use of oral anticoagulant therapy as a means of preventing thromboembolic disease. Despite long-term physician familiarity with oral anticoagulants, this mode of therapy still suffers from a relatively high-risk/safety profile. This review briefly highlights important historical and pharmacokinetic points of interest but focuses predominantly on aspects of the day-to-day management of anticoagulant therapy aiming to enhance physician performance in this therapeutic milieu. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic monitoring, understanding the prothrombin time, managing complications, and assessing future innovations for the management of a growing population of patients treated with orally administered anticoagulants.