Background: Whether the oral factor Xa inhibitor edoxaban can be an alternative to warfarin in patients with venous thromboembolism is unclear.
Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, noninferiority study, we randomly assigned patients with acute venous thromboembolism, who had initially received heparin, to receive edoxaban at a dose of 60 mg once daily, or 30 mg once daily (e.g., in the case of patients with creatinine clearance of 30 to 50 ml per minute or a body weight below 60 kg), or to receive warfarin. Patients received the study drug for 3 to 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was recurrent symptomatic venous thromboembolism. The principal safety outcome was major or clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding.
Results: A total of 4921 patients presented with deep-vein thrombosis, and 3319 with a pulmonary embolism. Among patients receiving warfarin, the time in the therapeutic range was 63.5%. Edoxaban was noninferior to warfarin with respect to the primary efficacy outcome, which occurred in 130 patients in the edoxaban group (3.2%) and 146 patients in the warfarin group (3.5%) (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70 to 1.13; P<0.001 for noninferiority). The safety outcome occurred in 349 patients (8.5%) in the edoxaban group and 423 patients (10.3%) in the warfarin group (hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.94; P=0.004 for superiority). The rates of other adverse events were similar in the two groups. A total of 938 patients with pulmonary embolism had right ventricular dysfunction, as assessed by measurement of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide levels; the rate of recurrent venous thromboembolism in this subgroup was 3.3% in the edoxaban group and 6.2% in the warfarin group (hazard ratio, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.98).
Conclusions: Edoxaban administered once daily after initial treatment with heparin was noninferior to high-quality standard therapy and caused significantly less bleeding in a broad spectrum of patients with venous thromboembolism, including those with severe pulmonary embolism. (Funded by Daiichi-Sankyo; Hokusai-VTE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00986154.).