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A survey of reasons for continuing warfarin therapy in the era of direct oral anticoagulants in Japanese patients with atrial fibrillation: the SELECT study

Authors Ikeda T, Yasaka M, Kida M, Imura M

Received 26 September 2017

Accepted for publication 19 December 2017

Published 17 January 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 135—143


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Takanori Ikeda,1 Masahiro Yasaka,2 Makoto Kida,3 Miki Imura4

1Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Toho University Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, 2Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine and Neurology, National Hospital Organization, Kyushu Medical Center, Fukuoka, 3Medical & Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb KK, Tokyo, 4PIH Medical Affairs, Pfizer Japan Inc, Tokyo, Japan

Purpose: Although warfarin has historically been the standard of care for preventing ischemic stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), the use of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) is rapidly increasing. In this study, we examined the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients continuing warfarin therapy and investigated reasons for warfarin continuation.
Patients and methods: Each study site consecutively registered 10 patients with NVAF who had been taking warfarin for at least 12 months. Demographic and clinical characteristics and international normalized ratio (INR) values were collected from medical records. Physicians responded to questionnaires exploring reasons for continuing warfarin therapy.
Results: Overall, 313 patients treated with warfarin were registered at 33 sites. Mean ± SD age was 76.4±9.6 years; 62.9% of patients were male. The proportion of patients with INR values in the therapeutic range was 74.6% and 48.8% among patients aged ≥70 years and <70 years, respectively. Over half of the patients (51.4%) had been advised to switch from warfarin to DOACs; the primary physician-reported reason for this recommendation was superior safety and effectiveness. However, patients reported continuing warfarin because of the high price of DOACs (47.2%) and long-term positive experiences with warfarin (31.7%). The remaining 48.6% of patients with NVAF had never been counseled by their physicians about DOACs as an alternative to warfarin. For 76% of these patients, physicians favored warfarin for medical reasons, such as impaired renal function and controlled INR, but in the remaining patients, medical reasons for continuing warfarin were lacking.
Conclusion: Approximately half of the patients in this study were informed of warfarin alternatives primarily for improved efficacy and safety, but elected not to change regimens because of the high price of DOACs and long-term positive experiences with warfarin. In the remaining half, physician preference or specific patient characteristics prevented a change in therapy.

Keywords: anticoagulant, physician preference, nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, patient satisfaction

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