Background: increasing age is associated with a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF), and higher risks of stroke and bleeding. We report the effects of apixaban versus acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in older patients (≥75 years and ≥85 years) compared with younger patients with AF unsuitable for vitamin K antagonists.
Methods: AVERROES (Apixaban Versus ASA to Prevent Stroke In AF Patients Who Have Failed or Are Unsuitable for Vitamin K Antagonist Treatment) trial (n = 5,599) included 1,898 patients ≥75 years and 366 patients ≥85 years. We compared the baseline characteristics and effects of apixaban compared with aspirin on clinical outcomes by age.
Results: compared with aspirin, apixaban was more efficacious for preventing strokes and systemic embolism in patients ≥85 years (absolute rate [AR] 1%/year on apixaban versus 7.5%/year on aspirin; hazard ratio [HR] 0.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02-0.48) compared with younger patients (AR 1.7%/year on apixaban versus 3.4%/year on aspirin; HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.35-0.69) (P-value for interaction = 0.05). Major haemorrhage was higher in patients ≥85 years compared with younger patients but similar with apixaban versus aspirin in both young and older individuals (4.9%/year versus 1.0%/year on aspirin and 4.7%/year versus 1.2%/year on apixaban) with no significant treatment-by-age interaction (P-value = 0.65).
Conclusions: older patients with AF are at particularly high risk of stroke if given aspirin and have substantially greater relative and absolute benefits from apixaban compared with younger patients with no greater risk of haemorrhage.
Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT00496769. URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00496769.
Keywords: age; anticoagulation; apixaban; atrial fibrillation; elderly; stroke.
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