Background: Clinical trials have indicated that the direct-acting oral anticoagulants dabigatran and rivaroxaban have better risk/benefit profiles than do vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF).
Objective: Our objective was to compare the 1-year real-life risk of major clinical events with dabigatran or rivaroxaban versus VKAs for NVAF.
Methods: This was a high-dimensional propensity score (hdPS)-matched cohort study of new users of dabigatran, rivaroxaban or VKAs for NVAF in the French national healthcare systems database in 2013 followed-up for 1 year . Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for clinical events and death were determined during exposure.
Results: In 2013, a total of 103,101 new anticoagulant users had definite NVAF: 44,653 VKA, 27,060 dabigatran, and 31,388 rivaroxaban. In matched populations, HRs were as follows for dabigatran versus VKAs (20,489 per group): stroke and systemic embolism (SSE) 0.75 (95% CI 0.63-0.88), clinically relevant bleeding (CRB) 0.58 (95% CI 0.51-0.66), hemorrhagic stroke (HS) 0.22 (95% CI 0.14-0.36), gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) 0.98 (95% CI 0.80-1.19), acute coronary syndrome (ACS) 0.79 (95% CI 0.65-0.95), death 0.74 (95% CI 0.67-0.82), composite (any of the above) 0.71 (95% CI 0.66-0.76). For matched rivaroxaban versus VKA (23,053 per group) HRs were as follows: SSE 0.98 (95% CI 0.85-1.14), CRB 0.83 (95% CI 0.75-0.92), HS 0.65 (95% CI 0.49-0.87), GIB 1.08 (95% CI 0.90-1.30), ACS 0.84 (95% CI 0.71-1.00), death 0.77 (95% CI 0.71-0.84), composite 0.84 (95% CI 0.79-0.89). Numbers needed to treat to observe one fewer death were 49 ± 0.05 with dabigatran or rivaroxaban versus VKAs.
Conclusion: Consistent with results from clinical trials and other observational studies, dabigatran and rivaroxaban were at least as effective and safer than VKAs for the prevention of thromboembolic events in NVAF over 1 year in the French population.
Study registration: European Medicines Agency EUPAS 13017 (www.encepp.eu) Clinicaltrials.gov id NCT02785354.