Background: Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are being introduced for stroke prevention in non-valvular Atrial Fibrillation (AF), and promise to be accepted better than Vitamin K Antagonists (VKAs) by patients, improving their Quality of Life (QoL).
Aim: To assess to what extent patient-related factors influence decisions to switch from a VKA to a NOAC.
Methods: The PREFER in AF Registry collected data at baseline in 2012 - at the beginning of NOAC prescriptions - and at 1-year follow-up, in 6412 patients in seven Western European countries. QoL and patient satisfaction questionnaires (EQ-5D-5L and/or PACT-Q2) were completed in 3777 patients at both visits. Data were compared across categories of patients on stable treatment with a VKA (i.e. continuously over the previous 12 months) (n=2102) or recently switched (within 12 months) from a VKA to a NOAC (n=213) during a 1-year follow-up, allowing a snapshot of factors influencing the switch at a time when NOACs were being introduced into the market.
Results: Compared to patients on stable treatment with a VKA, switched patients were similar in terms of age, sex, body mass index and other risk factors, but had lower prevalences of hypertension and heart valve dysfunction, and a lower rate of use of concomitant treatment with antiplatelet/anti-inflammatory agents; they also had a lower CHA2DS2-VASc score. Among 25 features investigated, switched patients more often reported bruising or bleeding, complained about bruising, were dissatisfied with the anticoagulant treatment, and reported mobility problems and anxiety/depressive traits.
Conclusions: At the beginning of NOAC prescriptions, European doctors tended to switch from VKAs to NOACs those patients at lower risk than "non-switchers". Complaints about bruising or bleeding, dissatisfaction with treatment, mobility problems and anxiety/depression traits appear to be related to - and may have influenced - the choice to switch from a VKA to a NOAC.
Keywords: Anticoagulants oraux directs; Antivitamine K; Atrial fibrillation; Changement de traitement; Fibrillation atriale; Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants; Patient satisfaction; Quality of life; Qualité de vie; Satisfaction du patient; Switching; Vitamin K antagonists.
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