Comparison of Bleeding in Patients With Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation Treated With Ximelagatran or Warfarin: Assessment of Incidence, Case-Fatality Rate, Time Course and Sites of Bleeding, and Risk Factors for Bleeding

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BackgroundXimelagatran is a novel direct thrombin inhibitor that can be administered as a fixed oral dose, without the need for anticoagulant monitoring.MethodsWe undertook a pooled analysis of 7329 patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation from the Stroke Prevention Using Oral Thrombin Inhibitor in Atrial Fibrillation III and V trials to compare bleeding outcomes in patients who received ximelagatran, 36 mg twice daily, or warfarin sodium (target international normalized ratio, 2.0–3.0). We determined annual risk of bleeding (any, major), case-fatality rate, time course and anatomic sites of major bleeding, and risk factors for major bleeding with ximelagatran and warfarin treatment.ResultsAnnual incidence of any bleeding was 31.75% with ximelagatran and 38.82% with warfarin (relative risk reduction, 18.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 13.0–23.1; P<.001). Annual incidence of major bleeding was 2.01% with ximelagatran and 2.68% with warfarin (relative risk reduction, 25.1%; 95% CI, 3.2–42.1; P = .03). Case-fatality rate of bleeding was comparable in ximelagatran- and warfarin-treated patients (8.16% vs 8.09%; P = .98). Cumulative incidence of major bleeding was higher with warfarin than ximelagatran after 24 months of treatment (4.7% vs 3.7%; P = .04). Anatomic sites of bleeding were comparable with both treatments. Risk factors for bleeding with ximelagatran were as follows (hazard ratios and 95% CIs in parentheses): diabetes mellitus (1.81; 1.19–2.77; P = .006), previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (1.78; 1.16–2.73; P = .008), age 75 years or greater (1.70; 1.33–2.18; P<.001), and aspirin use (1.68; 1.08–2.59; P = .02). Risk factors for bleeding in warfarin-treated patients were previous liver disease (4.88; 1.55–15.39; P = .007); aspirin use (2.41; 1.69–3.43; P<.001); and age 75 years or greater (1.26; 1.03–1.52; P = .02).ConclusionsTreatment with ximelagatran, 36 mg twice daily, is associated with a lower risk of bleeding than warfarin in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Aspirin use and increasing age were associated with an increased risk of bleeding in ximelagatran- and warfarin-treated patients.

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