Effectiveness and Safety of Apixaban, Dabigatran, and Rivaroxaban Versus Warfarin in Patients with Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation and Previous Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

Craig I. Coleman, W. Frank Peacock, Thomas J. Bunz, Mark J. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Limited real-world data exist comparing each non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC) to warfarin in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who have had a previous ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. Methods-Using MarketScan claims from January 2012 to June 2015, we identified adults newly initiated on oral anticoagulation, with ≥2 diagnosis codes for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, a history of previous ischemic stroke/transient ischemic attack, and ≥180 days of continuous medical and prescription benefits before anticoagulation initiation. Three analyses were performed comparing 1:1 propensity score-matched cohorts of apixaban versus warfarin (n=2514), dabigatran versus warfarin (n=1962), and rivaroxaban versus warfarin (n=5208). Patients were followed until occurrence of a combined end point of ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or major bleed, switch/discontinuation of index oral anticoagulation, insurance disenrollment, or end of follow-up. Mean follow-up was 0.5 to 0.6 years for all matched cohorts. Results-Using Cox regression, neither apixaban nor dabigatran reduced the combined primary end point of ischemic stroke or ICH (hazard ratio [HR], 0.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.33-1.48 and HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.26-1.07) and had nonsignificant effect on hazards of major bleeding (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.38-1.64 and HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.26-1.27) versus warfarin. Rivaroxaban reduced the combined end point of ischemic stroke or ICH (HR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.29-0.72) without an effect on major bleeding (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.71-1.61). ICH occurred at rates of 0.16 to 0.61 events per 100 person-years in the 3 NOAC analyses, with no significant difference for any NOAC versus warfarin. Conclusions-Results from our study of the 3 NOACs versus warfarin in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation patients with a previous history of stroke/transient ischemic attack are relatively consistent with their respective phase III trials and previous stroke/transient ischemic attack subgroup analyses. All NOACs seemed no worse than warfarin in respect to ischemic stroke, ICH, or major bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2142-2149
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017



  • anticoagulants
  • atrial fibrillation
  • dabigatran
  • rivaroxaban
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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