Adherence to rivaroxaban, dabigatran, and apixaban for stroke prevention for newly diagnosed and treatment-naive atrial fibrillation patients: An update using 2013-2014 data

Joshua D. Brown, Anand R. Shewale, Jeffery C. Talbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Few studies have assessed adherence to non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), especially using contemporary data now that multiple NOACs are available. OBJECTIVE: To compare adherence and treatment patterns among NOACs for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). METHODS: Incident and treatment-naive NVAF patients were identified during 2013-2014 from a large claims database in this retrospective cohort study. Patients were included who initiated rivaroxaban, dabigatran, or apixaban within 30 days after diagnosis. Adherence to the index medication and adherence to any oral anticoagulant was assessed using the proportion of days covered (PDC) at 3, 6, and 9 months. The number of switches and gaps in therapy were also evaluated. Analyses were stratified by stroke risk scores, and a logistic regression model was used to control for factors that may predict high adherence. RESULTS: Dabigatran had lower adherence (PDC = 0.76, 0.64, 0.57) compared with rivaroxaban (PDC = 0.83, 0.73, 0.66; P < 0.001) and apixaban (PDC = 0.82, 0.72, 0.66; P < 0.001) at 3, 6, and 9 months of follow-up and twice the number of switches to either other anticoagulants or antiplatelet therapy. Adherence was higher overall as stroke risk increased, and dabigatran had consistently lower adherence compared with the other NOACs. Multivariable logistic regression predicting PDC = 0.80 showed rivaroxaban users with higher odds of high adherence compared with dabigatran or rivaroxaban across all time periods. Adjusted analyses showed that increasing age and comorbid hypertension and diabetes were associated with higher adherence. CONCLUSIONS: In this real-world analysis of adherence to NOACs, rivaroxaban and apixaban had favorable unadjusted adherence profiles compared with dabigatran, while rivaroxaban users had higher odds of high adherence (PDC ≥ 0.80) among the NOACs in adjusted analyses. Clinicians and managed care organizations should consider the implications of lower adherence on clinical outcomes and quality assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-967
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number UL1TR000117. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The authors have nothing to disclose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy


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