Stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation in France: comparative cost-effectiveness of new oral anticoagulants (apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban), warfarin, and aspirin

J Med Econ. 2014 Aug;17(8):587-98. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2014.923891. Epub 2014 May 29.


Objectives: To conduct an economic evaluation of the currently prescribed treatments for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) including warfarin, aspirin, and novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) from a French payer perspective.

Methods: A previously published Markov model was adapted in accordance to the new French guidelines of the Commission for Economic Evaluation and Public Health (CEESP), to adopt the recommended efficiency frontier approach. A cohort of patients with NVAF eligible for stroke preventive treatment was simulated over lifetime. Clinical events modeled included strokes, systemic embolism, intracranial hemorrhage, other major bleeds, clinically relevant non-major bleeds, and myocardial infarction. Efficacy and bleeding data for warfarin, apixaban, and aspirin were obtained from ARISTOTLE and AVERROES trials, whilst efficacy data for other NOACs were from published indirect comparisons. Acute medical costs were obtained from a dedicated analysis of the French national hospitalization database (PMSI). Long-term medical costs and utility data were derived from the literature. Univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the robustness of the model projections.

Results: Warfarin and apixaban were the two optimal treatment choices, as the other five treatment strategies including aspirin, dabigatran 110 mg, dabigatran in sequential dosages, dabigatran 150 mg, and rivaroxaban were strictly dominated on the efficiency frontier. Further, apixaban was a cost-effective alternative vs warfarin with an incremental cost of €2314 and an incremental quality-adjusted life year (QALY) of 0.189, corresponding to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of €12,227/QALY.

Conclusions: Apixaban may be the most economically efficient alternative to warfarin in NVAF patients eligible for stroke prevention in France. All other strategies were dominated, yielding apixaban as a less costly yet more effective treatment alternative. As formally requested by the CEESP, these results need to be verified in a French clinical setting using stroke reduction and bleeding safety observed in real-life patient cohorts using these anticoagulants.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; Apixaban; Atrial fibrillation; Cost-effectiveness; Efficiency frontier; Warfarin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / economics*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Antithrombins / economics
  • Antithrombins / therapeutic use
  • Aspirin / economics*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Benzimidazoles / economics
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dabigatran
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors / economics*
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morpholines / economics
  • Morpholines / therapeutic use
  • Pyrazoles / economics
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pyridones / economics
  • Pyridones / therapeutic use
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Stroke / prevention & control*
  • Thiophenes / economics
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use
  • Warfarin / economics
  • beta-Alanine / analogs & derivatives
  • beta-Alanine / economics
  • beta-Alanine / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Antithrombins
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Morpholines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridones
  • Thiophenes
  • beta-Alanine
  • apixaban
  • Warfarin
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Dabigatran
  • Aspirin