Objectives: The aim was to perform a review of the efficacy and safety of new oral anticoagulants (NOAs) in the management of venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Methods: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis. On March 26, 2014, Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane trial register were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the NOAs dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) in VTE treatment and secondary prevention. Two investigators assessed the methodological quality of the RCTs. The main study outcomes (efficacy, safety and net clinical benefit) were expressed as risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: Ten RCTs, mostly with low risk of bias, with nearly 38,000 patients, were identified. In six trials of treatment, NOAs were equally effective as VKAs in preventing recurrent symptomatic VTE (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.75-1.05), but major bleeding occurred less often (1.08% vs. 1.73% for VKAs, RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.51-0.77), leading net clinical benefit to favor NOAs (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.70-0.90). Fatal bleeding occurred less often with NOAs (0.09% vs. 0.18% for VKAs), a difference that approached statistical significance (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.26-1.01). In three secondary prevention trials, NOAs reduced VTE recurrence rates to 1.32% (vs. 7.24% with placebo, RR 0.17, 95% CI 0.12-0.24) and fatal pulmonary embolism (PE) (including unexplained deaths) to 0.1% (vs. 0.29% for placebo, RR 0.37, 95% CI 0.10-1.38) at the expense of clinically relevant non-major bleeding (4.3% vs. 1.8% for placebo, RR 2.32, 95% CI 1.65-3.35), but not major bleeding. All-cause mortality rate was reduced to 0.41% with NOAs (vs. 0.86% with placebo, RR 0.38, 95% CI 0.18-0.79). Net clinical benefit favored NOAs (RR 0.21, 95% CI 0.15-0.29), and NNT was 18.
Conclusions: Compared to VKAs, NOAs are not only effective in treating VTE but also safer in terms of bleeding, thereby conferring clinical benefit. Their safety and efficacy was confirmed further in secondary prevention trials.
Keywords: Apixaban; Dabigatran; Edoxaban; Rivaroxaban; Venous thromboembolism.
Copyright © 2014 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.