BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or dialysis patients are lacking. We aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of DOACs and warfarin in patients with CKD requiring anticoagulation therapy.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials and 19 observational studies, with the inclusion criteria being a comparative study between DOACs and warfarin in patients with CKD or dialysis patients from database inception until August 2020. The efficacy outcomes were stroke, systemic embolism (SE), or venous thromboembolism (VTE), and the safety outcome was major bleeding.
Results: Compared with warfarin, DOACs significantly reduced the risk of stroke/SE/VTE by 22% (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64-0.95) and major bleeding by 17% (HR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.71-0.97). On comparing factor Xa inhibitors and dabigatran with warfarin separately, factor Xa inhibitors significantly reduced the risk of stroke/SE/VTE (HR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.62-0.98) and major bleeding (HR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.64-0.91) overall in patients. Comparing each DOACs with warfarin separately, apixaban was associated with a significantly better risk reduction of stroke/SE/VTE (25% risk reduction) and major bleeding (35% risk reduction) than warfarin. Compared with warfarin, DOACs significantly reduced the risk of stroke, SE, or VTE by 19% (HR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.68-0.97) in patients with CKD stage 3 and significantly lowered the risk of major bleeding by 31% (HR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.56-0.85) in patients with CKD stages 4-5.
Conclusions: In pooled, analyzed randomized controlled trials and observational studies, DOACs were associated with better efficacy in early CKD, as well as similar efficacy and safety outcomes to warfarin in patients with CKD stages 4-5 or dialysis patients. The results of patients with CKD stages 4-5 and dialysis patients were from observational studies. Well-designed randomized controlled trials focused on DOAC use in patients with CKD and dialysis patients are needed. PROSPERO register number: CRD42020150599, 6 February, 2020.