Authors: Amol D Dhamane, Inmaculada Hernandez, Manuela Di Fusco, Cynthia Gutierrez, Mauricio Ferri, Cristina Russ, Wan-Lun Tsai, Birol Emir, Huseyin Yuce, Allison Keshishian 




Studies have shown that patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) who discontinue oral anticoagulants (OACs) are at higher risk of complications such as stroke.


This analysis compared the risk of non-persistence with OACs among patients with NVAF.


Adult patients with NVAF who initiated apixaban, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, or warfarin were identified using 01JAN2013–30JUN2019 data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and four US commercial claims databases. Non-persistence was defined as discontinuation (no evidence of index OAC use for ≥ 60 days from the last days’ supply) or switch to another OAC. Kaplan–Meier curves were generated to illustrate time to non-persistence along with cumulative incidences of non-persistence. Baseline and time-varying covariates were evaluated, and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate non-persistence risk.


In total, 363,823 patients receiving apixaban, 57,121 receiving dabigatran, 282,831 receiving rivaroxaban, and 317,337 receiving warfarin were included. Of these, 47–72% discontinued/switched OAC therapy within an average 9-month follow-up. Apixaban was associated with a lower risk of non-persistence than were dabigatran (hazard ratio [HR] 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61–0.62), rivaroxaban (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.75–0.76), and warfarin (HR 0.74; 95% CI 0.74–0.75). Dabigatran was associated with a higher risk of non-persistence than were warfarin (HR 1.21; 95% CI 1.19–1.22) and rivaroxaban (HR 1.23; 95% CI 1.22–1.25), and rivaroxaban was associated with a lower risk of non-persistence than was warfarin (HR 0.98; 95% CI 0.97–0.98). Clinical events (stroke/systemic embolism and major bleeding [MB]) during follow-up were predictors of non-persistence (stroke HR 1.57; 95% CI 1.53–1.61; MB HR 2.96; 95% CI 2.92–3.00).


In over one million patients with NVAF, our results suggest differences in anticoagulation treatment persistence across OAC agents, even after accounting for clinical events after OAC initiation. It is important for clinicians and patients to take these differences into consideration, especially as non-persistence to OAC therapy is associated with thromboembolic complications.

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