With the introduction of edoxaban last year in Germany, four nonvitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants are now available for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. These novel oral anticoagulants (NOAC) represent an attractive new option compared to vitamin K antagonists (e.g., warfarin or phenprocoumon) due to simple use and fewer interactions with other drugs or food. Therefore, no INR monitoring and dosage adjustments are required for NOAC. The compelling clinical advantage of NOAC is the dramatic risk reduction of hemorhagic stroke and intracranial bleeding compared to current standard. In addition, total mortality is significantly reduced by 10 %. These effects are demonstrated for all four NOAC (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban). Therefore, current national and international guidelines recommend NOAC as the preferred option or at least as an attractive alternative compared to the former standard of vitamin K antagonists. The economic impact and reimbursement by Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) is of major importance for treatment in an outpatient setting. For apixaban and edoxaban, an additional benefit was granted by the institution of G‑BA and IQWiG in this clinical setting, whereas dabigatran and rivaroxaban were not assessed due to market entrance prior to 2011 before the AMNOG procedure was initiated. The members of this consensus paper recommend NOAC as the preferred option for patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who are currently not treated with anticoagulant drugs in spite of clear indication for anticoagulation. For new patients with nonvalvular fibrillation, it should be decided on an individual basis which treatment option is adequate for the patient with their respective comorbidities.
Keywords: AMNOG procedure; Atrial fibrillation; New oral anticoagulants; Reimbursement; Vitamin K antagonist.