Background: Prevention of stroke is a pivotal intervention in the management of patients
with atrial fibrillation (AF). Because of the difficulties of safely implementing Vitamin K Antagonists
in all patients, there has been a growing interest in improving the pharmacological management of AF
with newer antithrombotic agents. The new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have been developed to
overcome the limitations and improve the efficacy of the conventional oral anticoagulant drugs.
Among the NOACs, apixaban - a very specific antagonist of activated factor Xa – has pharmacokinetic
and pharmacodynamic properties that allow significant efficacy in AF management.
Objective: The aim of this review is to summarise the available data on the efficacy of apixaban in patients
with AF, with a particular focus on the implications for its clinical management.
Results and Conclusion: Clinical application of apixaban in subgroups of patients with AF is still under
investigation and some contraindications should be taken into account. Despite these limitations,
apixaban is an effective alternative to warfarin and aspirin for stroke prevention in AF, with encouraging
evidence also in terms of adherence to treatment.