Oral anticoagulant discontinuation and its predictors in patients with atrial fibrillation
Kefale, AT and Bezabhe, WM and Peterson, GM, Oral anticoagulant discontinuation and its predictors in patients with atrial fibrillation, Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11, (20) Article 6022. ISSN 2077-0383 (2022) [Refereed Article]
Background: Oral anticoagulants (OACs) are important in reducing the risk of ischaemic stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AF). Although patients need to take their OAC continuously, it has been suggested that discontinuation is common in clinical practice, and this could predispose patients to thrombotic complications. Aims: To investigate the rate of OAC discontinuation and its predictors in patients with AF, using national data from Australian general practices. Methods: We analysed data obtained from NPS MedicineWise’s MedicineInsight dataset. We included patients with a recorded diagnosis of AF who newly started an OAC between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2017. Patients were considered persistent if an OAC was prescribed continuously without discontinuing more than 60 days gap in therapy. The follow-up period was 12 months post-initiation. Multivariable models were used for the analysis of predictors. Results: Of 16,075 patients included in the cohort, 47.3% were females, and the mean age was 74.6 (SD 10.2) years. The overall OAC discontinuation rate was 13.2% (confidence interval (CI) 12.6–13.7%) by 12 months post-initiation. The discontinuation rates for warfarin, apixaban, dabigatran and rivaroxaban were 18.3% (95% CI 17.2–19.5%), 10.1% (95% CI 9.2–11.0%), 10.9% (95% CI 9.4–12.5%) and 12.2% (95% CI 11.4–13.2%), respectively. Warfarin had a significantly higher risk of discontinuation compared to direct-acting OACs. Factors that are known to increase the risk of stroke (older age, diabetes, and hypertension) were associated with better persistence. Conclusions: A relatively high proportion of patients with AF continued OAC therapy by 12 months post-initiation. Positively, patients with the highest risk of stroke and lowest risk of bleeds seemed to have better persistence.
atrial fibrillation; oral anticoagulant; discontinuation; persistence; primary care