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Adherence to oral anticoagulant therapy in secondary stroke prevention – impact of the novel oral anticoagulants

Authors Luger S, Hohmann C, Niemann D, Kraft P, Gunreben I, Neumann-Haefelin T, Kleinschnitz C, Steinmetz H, Foerch C, Pfeilschifter W

Received 21 May 2015

Accepted for publication 2 September 2015

Published 23 November 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1695—1705


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Doris Leung

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Sebastian Luger,1 Carina Hohmann,2 Daniela Niemann,1 Peter Kraft,3 Ignaz Gunreben,3 Tobias Neumann-Haefelin,2 Christoph Kleinschnitz,3 Helmuth Steinmetz,1 Christian Foerch,1 Waltraud Pfeilschifter1

1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, 2Department of Neurology, Klinikum Fulda gAG, Fulda, 3Department of Neurology, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Background: Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) potently prevents strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) have been the standard of care for long-term OAT for decades, but non-VKA oral anticoagulants (NOAC) have recently been approved for this indication, and raised many questions, among them their influence on medication adherence. We assessed adherence to VKA and NOAC in secondary stroke prevention.
Methods: All patients treated from October 2011 to September 2012 for ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack with a subsequent indication for OAT, at three academic hospitals were entered into a prospective registry, and baseline data and antithrombotic treatment at discharge were recorded. At the 1-year follow-up, we assessed the adherence to different OAT strategies and patients’ adherence to their respective OAT. We noted OAT changes, reasons to change treatment, and factors that influence persistence to the prescribed OAT.
Results: In patients discharged on OAT, we achieved a fatality corrected response rate of 73.3% (n=209). A total of 92% of these patients received OAT at the 1-year follow-up. We observed good adherence to both VKA and NOAC (VKA, 80.9%; NOAC, 74.8%; P=0.243) with a statistically nonsignificant tendency toward a weaker adherence to dabigatran. Disability at 1-year follow-up was an independent predictor of lower adherence to any OAT after multivariate analysis, whereas the choice of OAT did not have a relevant influence.
Conclusion: One-year adherence to OAT after stroke is strong (>90%) and patients who switch therapy most commonly switch toward another OAT. The 1-year adherence rates to VKA and NOAC in secondary stroke prevention do not differ significantly between both therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: stroke, prevention, vitamin K antagonists, non-VKA oral anticoagulants, adherence

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