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Clinical Outcomes of Direct Oral Anticoagulants vs Warfarin for Extended Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism

Extending the duration of oral anticoagulation for venous thromboembolism (VTE) beyond the initial 3 to 6 months of treatment is often recommended, but it is not clear whether clinical outcomes differ when using direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) or warfarin. To compare rates of recurrent VTE, hospitalizations for hemorrhage, and all-cause death among adults prescribed DOACs or warfarin whose anticoagulant treatment was extended beyond 6 months after acute VTE. This cohort study was conducted in 2 integrated health care delivery systems in California with adults aged 18 years or older who received a diagnosis of incident VTE between 2010 and 2018 and completed at least 6 months of oral anticoagulant treatment with DOACs or warfarin. Patients were followed from the end of the initial 6-month treatment period until discontinuation of anticoagulation, occurrence of an outcome event, health plan disenrollment, or end of the study follow-up period (December 31, 2019). Data were obtained from the Kaiser Permanente Virtual Data Warehouse and electronic health records. Data analysis was conducted from March 2022 to January 2023. Dispensed prescriptions of DOACs or warfarin after a 6-month initial treatment for VTE. The primary outcomes were rates per 100 person-years of recurrent VTE, hospitalizations for hemorrhage, and all-cause death. Comparison of DOAC and warfarin outcomes were performed using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. A total of 18 495 patients (5477 [29.6%] aged ≥75 years; 8973 women [48.5%]) with VTE who were treated with at least 6 months of anticoagulation were identified, of whom 2134 (11.5%) were receiving DOAC therapy and 16 361 (88.5%) were receiving warfarin therapy. Unadjusted event rates were lower for patients receiving DOAC therapy than warfarin therapy for recurrent VTE (event rate per 100 person-years, 2.92 [95% CI, 2.29-3.54] vs 4.14 [95% CI, 3.90-4.38]), hospitalizations for hemorrhage (event rate per 100 person-years, 1.02 [95% CI, 0.66-1.39] vs 1.81 [95% CI, 1.66-1.97]), and all-cause death (event rate per 100 person-years, 3.79 [95% CI, 3.09-4.49] vs 5.40 [95% CI, 5.13-5.66]). After multivariable adjustment, DOAC treatment was associated with a lower risk of recurrent VTE (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.66; 95% CI, 0.52-0.82). For patients prescribed DOAC treatment, the risks of hospitalization for hemorrhage (aHR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.54-1.17) and all-cause death (aHR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.78-1.19) were not significantly different than those for patients prescribed warfarin treatment. In this cohort study of patients with VTE who continued warfarin or DOAC anticoagulation beyond 6 months, DOAC treatment was associated with a lower risk of recurrent VTE, supporting the use of DOACs for the extended treatment of VTE in terms of clinical outcomes.

Authors: Fang, Margaret C;Reynolds, Kristi;Fan, Dongjie;Prasad, Priya A;Sung, Sue Hee;Portugal, Cecilia;Garcia, Elisha;Go, Alan S

JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Aug 01;6(8):e2328033. Epub 2023-08-01.

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