Anticoagulants play an important role in the prevention and treatment of a variety of acute and chronic thromboembolic disorders such as primary prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism or prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in atrial fibrillation just to name of few. Within recent years, a promising new oral anticoagulant, the direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate (dabigatran) successfully underwent clinical development and has emerged as an alternative to vitamin K antagonists according to a variety of recently revised and updated international guidelines referring to the indication of stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Considering the intensive clinical use of vitamin K antagonists in the mentioned indication as well as the widespread and increasing therapeutic need on one hand and the likely availability of a more efficacious alternative with fewer limitations in clinical practice on the other, there is good reason to assume that the use of dabigatran may be broad within the general medical community in the near future. Based on what is currently published in the public domain and clinical trial data it is suggested that dabigatran etexilate is associated with higher rates of dyspeptic symptoms compared to warfarin. Therefore, it is the authors' intent to review and discuss this potential dyspeptic side effect profile of dabigatran and potential counter measures from a gastroenterologist's perspective.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2013;48:9-16