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      Non–Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants for Stroke Prevention in Asian Patients With Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation : Meta-Analysis

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          Background and Purpose—

          The use of vitamin K antagonists (VKAs), the cornerstone treatment for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation, is limited by the perceived risk of serious bleeding in Asia. Non-VKA oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are safer alternatives. Here, we evaluate performance differences of NOACs between Asians and non-Asians.


          We compared efficacy and safety of NOACs between patients enrolled in Asian and non-Asian countries using aggregative data from phase III clinical trials. The odds ratios (ORs [95% confidence interval]) were calculated by a random effects model.


          Comparing with VKAs, standard-dose NOACs reduced stroke or systemic embolism (OR=0.65 [0.52–0.83] versus 0.85 [0.77–0.93], P interaction= 0.045) more in Asians than in non-Asians and were safer in Asians than in non-Asians about major bleeding (OR=0.57 [0.44–0.74] versus 0.89 [0.76–1.04], P interaction=0.004), hemorrhagic stroke (OR=0.32 [0.19–0.52] versus 0.56 [0.44–0.70], P interaction=0.046) in particular, whereas gastrointestinal bleeding was significantly increased in non-Asians (OR=0.79 [0.48–1.32] versus 1.44 [1.12–1.85], P interaction=0.041). Generally, low-dose NOACs were safer than VKAs without heterogeneity in efficacy and safety between Asians and non-Asians, except for ischemic stroke, major, and gastrointestinal bleeding.


          Our findings suggest that standard-dose NOACs were more effective and safer in Asians than in non-Asians, whereas low-dose NOACs performed similarly in both populations.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Concomitant use of antiplatelet therapy with dabigatran or warfarin in the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) trial.

          The Randomized Evaluation of Long-term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) trial showed that dabigatran etexilate 150 mg BID was superior and dabigatran etexilate 110 mg BID was noninferior to warfarin in preventing stroke and systemic embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation. In this subgroup analysis, we assess the efficacy and safety of dabigatran in patients who did and did not receive concomitant antiplatelets. All comparisons used a Cox proportional hazards model with adjustments made for risk factors for bleeding. A time-dependent analysis was performed when comparing patients with concomitant antiplatelets with those without. Of 18 113 patients, 6952 (38.4%) received concomitant aspirin or clopidogrel at some time during the study. Dabigatran etexilate 110 mg BID was noninferior to warfarin in reducing stroke and systemic embolism, whether patients received antiplatelets (hazard ratio [HR], 0.93; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.70-1.25) or not (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.66-1.15; interaction P=0.738). There were fewer major bleeds than warfarin in both subgroups (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67-1.00 for patients who used antiplatelets; HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.96 for patients who did not; interaction P=0.794). Dabigatran etexilate 150 mg BID reduced the primary outcome of stroke and systemic embolism in comparison with warfarin. This effect seemed attenuated among patients who used antiplatelets (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.59-1.08) in comparison with those who did not (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.38-0.72; P for interaction=0.058). Major bleeding was similar to warfarin regardless of antiplatelet use (HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.76-1.12 for patients who used antiplatelets; HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.78-1.15 for patients who did not; P for interaction=0.875). In the time-dependent analysis, concomitant use of a single antiplatelet seemed to increase the risk of major bleeding (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.42-1.82). Dual antiplatelet seemed to increased this even more (HR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.79-2.98). The absolute risks were lowest on dabigatran etexilate 110 mg BID in comparison with dabigatran etexilate 150 mg BID or warfarin. Concomitant antiplatelet drugs appeared to increase the risk for major bleeding in RE-LY without affecting the advantages of dabigatran over warfarin. Choosing between dabigatran etexilate 110 mg BID and dabigatran etexilate 150 mg BID requires a careful assessment of characteristics that influence the balance between benefit and harm. URL: Unique identifier: NCT00262600.
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            Meta-analysis of efficacy and safety of new oral anticoagulants (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban) versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation.

            New oral anticoagulants, including apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban, have been developed as alternatives to warfarin, the standard oral anticoagulation therapy for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was performed to compare the efficacy and safety of new oral anticoagulants to those of warfarin in patients with AF. The published research was systematically searched for randomized controlled trials of >1 year in duration that compared new oral anticoagulants to warfarin in patients with AF. Random-effects models were used to pool efficacy and safety data across randomized controlled trials. Three studies, including 44,563 patients, were identified. Patients randomized to new oral anticoagulants had a decreased risk for all-cause stroke and systemic embolism (relative risk [RR] 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67 to 0.92), ischemic and unidentified stroke (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.99), hemorrhagic stroke (RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.68), all-cause mortality (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.95), and vascular mortality (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.98). Randomization to a new oral anticoagulant was associated with a lower risk for intracranial bleeding (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.66). Data regarding the risks for major bleeding (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.09) and gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.72) were inconclusive. In conclusion, the new oral anticoagulants are more efficacious than warfarin for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with AF. With a decreased risk for intracranial bleeding, they appear to have a favorable safety profile, making them promising alternatives to warfarin. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Dabigatran versus warfarin: effects on ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes and bleeding in Asians and non-Asians with atrial fibrillation.

              Intracranial hemorrhage rates are higher in Asians than non-Asians, especially in patients receiving warfarin. This randomized evaluation of long-term anticoagulation therapy subgroup analysis assessed dabigatran etexilate (DE) and warfarin effects on stroke and bleeding rates in patients from Asian and non-Asian countries.

                Author and article information

                Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation
                Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
                September 2015
                24 August 2015
                : 46
                : 9
                : 2555-2561
                From the General Clinical Research Center (K.-L.W., C.-E.C.), Department of Medical Research (K.-L.W., S.-J.L., C.-E.C.), and Division of Cardiology (K.-L.W., S.-J.L., C.-E.C.), Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan (K.-L.W., S.-J.L., C.-E.C.); University of Birmingham, Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom (G.Y.H.L.); and Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark (G.Y.H.L.).
                Author notes
                Correspondence to Chern-En Chiang, MD, PhD, General Clinical Research Center, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail cechiang@
                © 2015 The Authors.

                Stroke is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDervis License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited, the use is noncommercial, and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                Original Contributions
                Clinical Sciences
                Custom metadata

                stroke, hemorrhage, atrial fibrillation, anticoagulants


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