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Differential benefit risk assessment of DOACs in the treatment of venous thromboembolism: focus on dabigatran

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      Abstract

      Venous thromboembolism includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and is a serious medical condition that requires anticoagulation as part of treatment. Currently, standard therapy consists of parenteral anticoagulation followed by a vitamin K antagonist (VKA). The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of the direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) differ from VKAs, which overcome some of the limitations of VKAs and have practical implications on their use in clinical situations. Dabigatran is a prodrug that undergoes primarily renal elimination and does not affect cytochrome P450 enzymes. Assays to quantify the degree of anticoagulation and the therapeutic level of DOAC are either unavailable for routine clinical use or require specific calibration. Routine monitoring of DOACs is not recommended at this time. Dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban are DOACs that have been studied for treatment of venous thromboembolism. Clinical trials comparing DOACs with standard therapy have shown them to be non-inferior for acute and extended therapy. Each DOAC has a unique benefit and harm profile that should be considered prior to use. The distinguishing characteristics of dabigatran include a requirement of parenteral anticoagulation prior to acute treatment, clinical trial results comparing it with a VKA for extended treatment, association with upper gastrointestinal adverse events, and increased risk of gastrointestinal bleed. Rivaroxaban is the only DOAC that has once-daily dosing while apixaban is the only DOAC that has lower risk of overall, major, and gastrointestinal bleeding compared with VKA. A common drawback of DOACs is the lack of an available reversal agent. Clinical trials of reversal agents are ongoing and one application for approval has been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration. Selection of a DOAC for acute and extended therapy requires a shared decision-making approach that includes a comprehensive assessment of the benefits and harms of each individual DOAC.

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      Most cited references 54

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      Dabigatran versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation.

      Warfarin reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation but increases the risk of hemorrhage and is difficult to use. Dabigatran is a new oral direct thrombin inhibitor. In this noninferiority trial, we randomly assigned 18,113 patients who had atrial fibrillation and a risk of stroke to receive, in a blinded fashion, fixed doses of dabigatran--110 mg or 150 mg twice daily--or, in an unblinded fashion, adjusted-dose warfarin. The median duration of the follow-up period was 2.0 years. The primary outcome was stroke or systemic embolism. Rates of the primary outcome were 1.69% per year in the warfarin group, as compared with 1.53% per year in the group that received 110 mg of dabigatran (relative risk with dabigatran, 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 1.11; P<0.001 for noninferiority) and 1.11% per year in the group that received 150 mg of dabigatran (relative risk, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.82; P<0.001 for superiority). The rate of major bleeding was 3.36% per year in the warfarin group, as compared with 2.71% per year in the group receiving 110 mg of dabigatran (P=0.003) and 3.11% per year in the group receiving 150 mg of dabigatran (P=0.31). The rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 0.38% per year in the warfarin group, as compared with 0.12% per year with 110 mg of dabigatran (P<0.001) and 0.10% per year with 150 mg of dabigatran (P<0.001). The mortality rate was 4.13% per year in the warfarin group, as compared with 3.75% per year with 110 mg of dabigatran (P=0.13) and 3.64% per year with 150 mg of dabigatran (P=0.051). In patients with atrial fibrillation, dabigatran given at a dose of 110 mg was associated with rates of stroke and systemic embolism that were similar to those associated with warfarin, as well as lower rates of major hemorrhage. Dabigatran administered at a dose of 150 mg, as compared with warfarin, was associated with lower rates of stroke and systemic embolism but similar rates of major hemorrhage. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00262600.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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        Rivaroxaban versus warfarin in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

        The use of warfarin reduces the rate of ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation but requires frequent monitoring and dose adjustment. Rivaroxaban, an oral factor Xa inhibitor, may provide more consistent and predictable anticoagulation than warfarin. In a double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 14,264 patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who were at increased risk for stroke to receive either rivaroxaban (at a daily dose of 20 mg) or dose-adjusted warfarin. The per-protocol, as-treated primary analysis was designed to determine whether rivaroxaban was noninferior to warfarin for the primary end point of stroke or systemic embolism. In the primary analysis, the primary end point occurred in 188 patients in the rivaroxaban group (1.7% per year) and in 241 in the warfarin group (2.2% per year) (hazard ratio in the rivaroxaban group, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 0.96; P<0.001 for noninferiority). In the intention-to-treat analysis, the primary end point occurred in 269 patients in the rivaroxaban group (2.1% per year) and in 306 patients in the warfarin group (2.4% per year) (hazard ratio, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.03; P<0.001 for noninferiority; P=0.12 for superiority). Major and nonmajor clinically relevant bleeding occurred in 1475 patients in the rivaroxaban group (14.9% per year) and in 1449 in the warfarin group (14.5% per year) (hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.11; P=0.44), with significant reductions in intracranial hemorrhage (0.5% vs. 0.7%, P=0.02) and fatal bleeding (0.2% vs. 0.5%, P=0.003) in the rivaroxaban group. In patients with atrial fibrillation, rivaroxaban was noninferior to warfarin for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism. There was no significant between-group difference in the risk of major bleeding, although intracranial and fatal bleeding occurred less frequently in the rivaroxaban group. (Funded by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer; ROCKET AF ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00403767.).
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          Apixaban versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation.

          Vitamin K antagonists are highly effective in preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation but have several limitations. Apixaban is a novel oral direct factor Xa inhibitor that has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke in a similar population in comparison with aspirin. In this randomized, double-blind trial, we compared apixaban (at a dose of 5 mg twice daily) with warfarin (target international normalized ratio, 2.0 to 3.0) in 18,201 patients with atrial fibrillation and at least one additional risk factor for stroke. The primary outcome was ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke or systemic embolism. The trial was designed to test for noninferiority, with key secondary objectives of testing for superiority with respect to the primary outcome and to the rates of major bleeding and death from any cause. The median duration of follow-up was 1.8 years. The rate of the primary outcome was 1.27% per year in the apixaban group, as compared with 1.60% per year in the warfarin group (hazard ratio with apixaban, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 0.95; P<0.001 for noninferiority; P=0.01 for superiority). The rate of major bleeding was 2.13% per year in the apixaban group, as compared with 3.09% per year in the warfarin group (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.80; P<0.001), and the rates of death from any cause were 3.52% and 3.94%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.80 to 0.99; P=0.047). The rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 0.24% per year in the apixaban group, as compared with 0.47% per year in the warfarin group (hazard ratio, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.75; P<0.001), and the rate of ischemic or uncertain type of stroke was 0.97% per year in the apixaban group and 1.05% per year in the warfarin group (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.13; P=0.42). In patients with atrial fibrillation, apixaban was superior to warfarin in preventing stroke or systemic embolism, caused less bleeding, and resulted in lower mortality. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer; ARISTOTLE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00412984.).
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
            [2 ]Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
            Author notes
            Correspondence: Timothy S Leung, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada, Email timleung@ 123456alumni.ubc.ca
            Journal
            Drug Des Devel Ther
            Drug Des Devel Ther
            Drug Design, Development and Therapy
            Drug Design, Development and Therapy
            Dove Medical Press
            1177-8881
            2015
            09 July 2015
            : 9
            : 3557-3569
            4501448 10.2147/DDDT.S70299 dddt-9-3557
            © 2015 Leung and Law. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

            The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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