Rivaroxaban in atrial fibrillation
Mariano A Giorgi,1,2 Lucas San Miguel3
1Cardiology Service, Centro de Educación Médica e Investigaciones Clínicas “Norberto Quirno”, 2Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Universidad Austral, 3Department of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery, FLENI, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Abstract: Warfarin is the traditional therapeutic option available to manage thromboembolic risk in atrial fibrillation. The hemorrhagic risk with warfarin depends mainly on the international normalized ratio (INR). Data from randomized controlled trials show that patients have a therapeutic INR (2.00–3.00) only 61%–68% of the time while taking warfarin, and this target is sometimes hard to establish. Many compounds have been developed in order to optimize the profile of oral anticoagulants. We focus on one of them, rivaroxaban, comparing it with novel alternatives, ie, dabigatran and apixaban. The indication for rivaroxaban in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation was evaluated in ROCKET-AF (Rivaroxaban-once daily, Oral, direct factor Xa inhibition Compared with vitamin K antagonism for prevention of stroke and Embolism Trial in Atrial Fibrillation). In this trial, rivaroxaban was associated with a 12% reduction in the incidence of the primary endpoint compared with warfarin (hazard ratio 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.74–1.03; P < 0.001 for noninferiority and P = 0.12 for superiority). However, patients remained in the therapeutic range for INR only 55% of the time, which is less than that in RE-LY (the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy, 64%) and in the ARISTOTLE trial (Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation, 66%). This shorter time spent in the therapeutic range has been one of the main criticisms of the ROCKET-AF trial, but could actually reflect what happens in real life. In addition, rivaroxaban exhibits good pharmacokinetic and pharmacoeconomic properties. Novel anticoagulants are a viable and commercially available alternative to vitamin K antagonists nowadays for the prevention of thromboembolic complications in atrial fibrillation. Rivaroxaban is an attractive alternative, but the true picture of this novel compound in atrial fibrillation will only become available with more widespread use.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation, anticoagulants, rivaroxaban