Examination of the Effectiveness of Direct Oral Anticoagulants in Comparison to Warfarin in an Obese Population

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Journal of Pharmacy Technology


Background: While commonly prescribed today, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have historically been avoided in patients with class III obesity or a weight >120 kg due to limited literature regarding the efficacy and safety in this population. Objective: The overall objective was to examine the effectiveness of DOACs compared to warfarin in a population with obesity. Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) or atrial fibrillation and a body mass index (BMI) ≥35 kg/m2 from August 1, 2015, to August 1, 2020, were included in this retrospective cohort study. Patients receiving a DOAC were matched in a 1:2 ratio to warfarin. The primary outcome was a composite of stroke or recurrent VTE. Secondary outcomes included the individual components of the primary outcome, hospitalization for bleed, and the primary outcome in patients with a BMI ≥40 kg/m2. Results: A total of 162 patients were included, with 54 and 108 in the DOAC and warfarin groups, respectively. Baseline BMI was similar between groups (45.7 kg/m2 for DOACs vs 43.8 kg/m2 for warfarin), with approximately 70% of patients having a BMI ≥40 kg/m2. The primary outcome occurred in 1 patient (1.9%) in the DOAC group and 2 patients (1.9%) in the warfarin group. The DOAC group had a higher, nonsignificant incidence of bleeding (5.6% vs 0.9%, P = 0.11). There was no difference between groups in incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), or stroke in patients with a BMI ≥40 kg/m2. Conclusion: DOACs may be as efficacious as warfarin in the prevention of stroke or recurrent VTE in patients with a BMI of ≥35 kg/m2. Prospective, randomized trials are warranted to further assess the efficacy and safety of DOACs in this population.

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