2017 Volume 81 Issue 11 Pages 1564-1573
Patients receiving vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are at increased risk of bleeding. Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in this population, and is a particular concern among Japanese clinicians, given reports of an elevated risk of this bleeding type in patients of Asian ethnicity. Patients with VKA-associated ICH require rapid international normalized ratio (INR) reversal, and treatment guidelines suggest the use of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs) or plasma for this purpose. Although European and US guidelines recommend PCCs for the treatment of VKA-associated major bleeding, they do not make a specific recommendation in the setting of ICH, owing to the lack of comparative evidence. In contrast, Japanese guidelines recommend the use of PCCs rather than plasma for VKA reversal in patients with ICH; however, these agents are not currently licensed in Japan for this indication. Here we review the available evidence on the use of PCCs for the treatment of VKA-associated ICH, both globally and specifically in Japanese settings. Overall, the evidence reviewed here supports the use of PCC for rapid VKA reversal in these patients.