How do novel anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting?

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Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
A novel anticoagulant prevents blood from clotting by targeting one specific part of the “clotting cascade.” The clotting cascade is a series of chemical reactions that occur in order for a blood clot to form. Many substances, called clotting factors, are involved in this cascade or “chain reaction.” A novel anticoagulant works by focusing on one of these clotting factors. By inhibiting just one clotting factor, a blood clot cannot form.     
In atrial fibrillation, a serious heart rhythm abnormality, it is important to keep blood clots from forming to help prevent an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. If you have atrial fibrillation, your doctor may recommend a novel anticoagulant instead of warfarin, an older anticoagulant.