Novel anticoagulants for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: a systematic review of cost-effectiveness models

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 23;8(4):e62183. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062183. Print 2013.


Objective: To conduct a systematic review of economic models of newer anticoagulants for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (SPAF).

Patients and methods: We searched Medline, Embase, NHSEED and HTA databases and the Tuft's Registry from January 1, 2008 through October 10, 2012 to identify economic (Markov or discrete event simulation) models of newer agents for SPAF.

Results: Eighteen models were identified. Each was based on a lone randomized trial/new agent, and these trials were clinically and methodologically heterogeneous. Dabigatran 150 mg, 110 mg and sequentially-dosed were assessed in 9, 8, and 9 models, rivaroxaban in 4 and apixaban in 4. Warfarin was a first-line comparator in 94% of models. Models were conducted from United States (44%), European (39%) and Canadian (17%) perspectives. Models typically assumed patients between 65-73 years old at moderate-risk of stroke initiated anticoagulation for/near a lifetime. All models reported cost/quality-adjusted life-year, 22% reported using a societal perspective, but none included indirect costs. Four models reported an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for a newer anticoagulant (dabigatran 110 mg (n = 4)/150 mg (n = 2); rivaroxaban (n = 1)) vs. warfarin above commonly reported willingness-to-pay thresholds. ICERs vs. warfarin ranged from $3,547-$86,000 for dabigatran 150 mg, $20,713-$150,000 for dabigatran 110 mg, $4,084-$21,466 for sequentially-dosed dabigatran and $23,065-$57,470 for rivaroxaban. Apixaban was found economically-dominant to aspirin, and dominant or cost-effective ($11,400-$25,059) vs. warfarin. Indirect comparisons from 3 models suggested conflicting comparative cost-effectiveness results.

Conclusions: Cost-effectiveness models frequently found newer anticoagulants cost-effective, but the lack of head-to-head trials and the heterogeneous characteristics of underlying trials and modeling methods make it difficult to determine the most cost-effective agent.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / economics
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric
  • Stroke / economics
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Stroke / prevention & control*


  • Anticoagulants

Grant support

This research was supported by a grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Raritan, NJ. Janssen Pharmaceuticals reviewed the final manuscript prior to submission. The authors of this report are entirely responsible for its content. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.