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HelixTalk #177 - The Antidote Arsenal: Exploring the Emergency Toolbox for Anticoagulant Reversals

Date posted: January 23, 2024, 6:00 am

In this episode, we review evidence-based guidelines for the emergency reversal of warfarin, dabigatran, and the oral Xa inhibitors (apixaban, edoxaban, and rivaroxaban).


Key Concepts

  1. Reversal of anticoagulation is indicated in patients with major hemorrhage or when emergency surgery is necessary.
  2. Reversal of warfarin (Coumadin®) involves a fast-acting, short-term solution (usually prothrombin complex concentrates [PCC]) and a slower-acting, long-term solution (intravenous vitamin K).
  3. Idarucizumab (Praxbind®) is the preferred reversal strategy for dabigatran (Pradaxa®). Idarucizumab is a monoclonal antibody fragment specific that binds and inactivates dabigatran. If idarucizumab is unavailable, PCCs are recommended.
  4. Andexanet alfa (Andexxa®) is the preferred reversal strategy for oral Xa inhibitors and has FDA approval specific to apixaban and rivaroxaban. Andexanet alfa is a decoy factor Xa protein with higher binding affinity than human clotting factor Xa. There are several barriers to use with andexanet alfa that has led to low utilization in hospitals. If andexanet alfa is unavailable, PCCs are recommended.


  • Baugh CW, et al. Anticoagulant Reversal Strategies in the Emergency Department Setting: Recommendations of a Multidisciplinary Expert Panel. Ann Emerg Med. 2020;76(4):470-485.
  • Cuker A, Burnett A, Triller D, et al. Reversal of direct oral anticoagulants: Guidance from the Anticoagulation Forum. Am J Hematol. 2019;94(6):697-709. doi:10.1002/ajh.25475
  • Tomaselli GF, et al. 2020 ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on Management of Bleeding in Patients on Oral Anticoagulants: A Report of the American College of Cardiology Solution Set Oversight Committee. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;76(5):594-622.