Background: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are at least non-inferior to warfarin in efficacy and safety among patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Limited evidence is available regarding outcomes for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation patients with coronary/peripheral artery disease.

Methods: Non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients aged ≥65 years diagnosed with coronary/peripheral artery disease in the US Medicare population, newly initiating DOACs (apixaban, rivaroxaban, dabigatran) or warfarin were selected from January 1, 2013 to September 30, 2015. Propensity score matching was used to compare DOACs vs warfarin. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the risk of stroke/systemic embolism, major bleeding, and composite of stroke/myocardial infarction/all-cause mortality.

Results: There were 15,527 apixaban-warfarin, 6,962 dabigatran-warfarin, and 25,903 rivaroxaban-warfarin-matched pairs, with a mean follow-up of 5-6 months. Compared with warfarin, apixaban was associated with lower rates of stroke/systemic embolism (hazard ratio [HR] 0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-0.62), major bleeding (HR 0.66; 95% CI, 0.58-0.75), and stroke/myocardial infarction/all-cause mortality (HR 0.63; 95% CI, 0.58-0.69); dabigatran and rivaroxaban were associated with lower rates of stroke/myocardial infarction/all-cause mortality (HR 0.79; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90 and HR 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81-0.92, respectively). Rivaroxaban was associated with a lower rate of stroke/systemic embolism (HR 0.72; 95% CI, 0.60-0.89) and a higher rate of major bleeding (HR 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05-1.23) vs warfarin.

Conclusions: All DOACs were associated with lower stroke/myocardial infarction/all-cause mortality rates compared with warfarin; differences were observed in rates of stroke/systemic embolism and major bleeding. Findings from this observational analysis provide important insights about oral anticoagulation therapy among non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients with coronary/peripheral artery disease and may help physicians in the decision-making process when treating this high-risk group of patients.

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