Table4_Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Low-Dose Oral Anticoagulants in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation.docx
Aims: Observational studies of various dose levels of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) found that a high proportion of patients received a dose lower than the target dose tested in randomized controlled trials. There is a need to compare low-dose DOACs with warfarin or other DOACs on effectiveness and safety.
Methods: Using administrative data from Quebec province, Canada, we built a cohort of new warfarin or DOAC users discharged from hospital between 2011 and 2017. We determined CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores, and comorbidities for 3-year prior cohort entry. The primary effectiveness endpoint was a composite of ischemic stroke/systemic embolism (SE), and secondary outcomes included a safety composite of major bleeding (MB) events and effectiveness composite (stroke/SE, death) at 1-year follow-up. We contrasted each low-dose DOAC with warfarin or other DOACs as references using inverse probability of treatment weighting to estimate marginal Cox hazard ratios (HRs).
Results: The cohort comprised 22,969 patients (mean age: 80–86). We did not find a significant risk reduction for the stroke/SE primary effectiveness endpoint for DOACs vs. warfarin; however, we observed a significantly lower risk for low-dose dabigatran vs. warfarin (HR [95%CI]: 0.59 [0.42–0.81]) for effectiveness composite, mainly due to a lower death rate. The differences in effectiveness and safety composites between low-dose rivaroxaban vs. warfarin were not significant. However, low-dose apixaban had a better safety composite (HR: 0.68 [0.53–0.88]) vs. warfarin. Comparisons of dabigatran vs. apixaban showed a lower risk of stroke/SE (HR: 0.53 [0.30–0.93]) and a 2-fold higher risk of MB. The MB risk was higher for rivaroxaban than for apixaban (HR: 1.58 [1.09–2.29]).
Conclusions: The results of this population-based study suggest that low-dose dabigatran has a better effective composite than warfarin. Compared with apixaban, low-dose dabigatran had a better effectiveness composite but a worse safety profile. Low-dose apixaban had a better safety composite than warfarin and other low-dose DOACs. Given that the comparative effectiveness and safety seem to vary from one DOAC to another, pharmacokinetic data for specific populations are now warranted.