Background: Rivaroxaban is a novel oral anticoagulant approved in the US in 2011 for prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). Information on risks and benefits among rivaroxaban users in real-world populations is limited.
Methods: We used data from the US MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental databases between 2010 and 2013. We selected patients with a history of NVAF and initiating rivaroxaban or warfarin. Rivaroxaban users were matched with up to 5 warfarin users by age, sex, database enrollment date and drug initiation date. Ischemic stroke, intracranial bleeding (ICB), myocardial infarction (MI), and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding outcomes were defined by ICD-9-CM codes in an inpatient claim after drug initiation date. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between rivaroxaban vs. warfarin use and outcomes adjusting for age, sex, and CHA2DS2-VASc score. Separate models were used to compare a) new rivaroxaban users with new warfarin users, and b) switchers from warfarin to rivaroxaban to continuous warfarin users.
Results: Our analysis included 34,998 rivaroxaban users matched to 102,480 warfarin users with NVAF (39% female, mean age 71), in which 487 ischemic strokes, 179 ICB, 647 MI, and 1353 GI bleeds were identified during a mean follow-up of 9 months. Associations of rivaroxaban vs warfarin were similar in new users and switchers; therefore we pooled both analyses. Rivaroxaban users had lower rates of ICB (hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) = 0.72 (0.46, 1.12))) and ischemic stroke (HR (95% CI) = 0.88 (0.68, 1.13)), but higher rates of GI bleeding (HR (95% CI) = 1.15 (1.01, 1.33)) when compared to warfarin users (table).
Conclusion: In this large population-based study of NVAF patients, rivaroxaban users had a non-significant lower risk of ICB and ischemic stroke than warfarin users, but a higher risk of GI bleeding. These real-world findings are comparable to results reported in published clinical trials.