Although vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin are highly effective for the prevention of thromboembolic complications in atrial fibrillation, some their disadvantages led to search for alternative agents. Selective inhibitors of specific coagulation factors represent a new class of oral antithrombotic agents, designed to overcome the limitations of traditional anticoagulants. Available clinical trials indicate that the most promising novel anticoagulants are those selectively targeting factors IIa (thrombin) and Xa. They represent a new alternative for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolisation in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. New orally administered anticoagulants (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban) demonstrated beneficial results in this indication in clinical trials and we expect their early introduction into our clinical practice.