Authors: Kiran Gupta, Jeffrey Trocio, Allison Keshishian, Qisu Zhang, Oluwaseyi Dina, Jack Mardekian, Anagha Nadkarni, Thomas C Shank
Background: Clinical trials have demonstrated that direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are at least non-inferior to warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke/systemic embolism (SE) among patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), but the comparative risk of major bleeding varies between DOACs and warfarin. Using US Department of Defense (DOD) data, this study compared the risk of stroke/SE and major bleeding for DOACs relative to warfarin.
Methods: Adult patients with ≥1 pharmacy claim for apixaban, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, or warfarin from 01 Jan 2013-30 Sep 2015 were selected. Patients were required to have ≥1 medical claim for atrial fibrillation during the 12-month baseline period. Patients with a warfarin or DOAC claim during the 12-month baseline period were excluded. Each DOAC cohort was matched to the warfarin cohort using propensity score matching (PSM). Cox proportional hazards models were conducted to evaluate the risk of stroke/SE and major bleeding of each DOAC vs warfarin.
Results: Of 41,001 identified patients, there were 3691 dabigatran-warfarin, 8226 rivaroxaban-warfarin, and 7607 apixaban-warfarin matched patient pairs. Apixaban was the only DOAC found to be associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke/SE (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.39, 0.77; p < 0.001) and major bleeding (HR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.80; p < 0.001) compared to warfarin. Dabigatran and rivaroxaban initiation were associated with similar risk of stroke/SE (dabigatran: HR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.43, 1.07; p = 0.096; rivaroxaban: HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.64, 1.09; p = 0.187) and major bleeding (dabigatran: HR: 1.05; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.40; p = 0.730; rivaroxaban: HR: 1.07; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.27; p = 0.423) compared to warfarin.
Conclusion: Among NVAF patients in the US DOD population, apixaban was associated with significantly lower risk of stroke/SE and major bleeding compared to warfarin. Dabigatran and rivaroxaban were associated with similar risk of stroke/SE and major bleeding compared to warfarin.
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