Comparative effectiveness of rivaroxaban versus warfarin or dabigatran for the treatment of patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation

Faye Norby, Lindsay G.S. Bengtson, Pamela L Lutsey, Lin Yee Chen, Richard F Maclehose, Alanna M. Chamberlain, Ian Rapson, Alvaro Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Rivaroxaban is an oral anticoagulant approved in the US for prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). We determined the effectiveness and associated risks of rivaroxaban versus other oral anticoagulants in a large real-world population. Methods: We selected NVAF patients initiating oral anticoagulant use in 2010-2014 enrolled in MarketScan databases. Rivaroxaban users were matched with warfarin and dabigatran users by age, sex, enrolment date, anticoagulant initiation date, and high-dimensional propensity score. Study endpoints, including ischemic stroke, intracranial bleeding (ICB), myocardial infarction (MI), and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, were identified from inpatient diagnostic codes. Multivariable Cox models were used to assess associations between type of anticoagulant and outcomes. Results: The analysis included 44,340 rivaroxaban users matched to 89,400 warfarin and 16,957 dabigatran users (38% female, mean age 70) with 12months of mean follow-up. Anticoagulant-naïve rivaroxaban initiators, but not those switching from warfarin, had lower risk of ischemic stroke [hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval (CI)): 0.75 (0.62, 0.91)] and ICB [HR (95%CI): 0.55, (0.39, 0.78)] than warfarin users. In contrast, anticoagulant-experienced rivaroxaban initiators had higher risk of GI bleeding than warfarin users [HR (95%CI): 1.55 (1.32, 1.83)]. Endpoint rates were similar when comparing anticoagulant-naïve rivaroxaban and dabigatran initiators, with the exception of higher GI bleeding risk in rivaroxaban users [HR (95%CI) 1.28 (1.06, 1.54)]. There were no significant differences in the risk of MI among the comparison groups. Conclusion: In this large real-world sample of NVAF patients, effectiveness and risks of rivaroxaban versus warfarin differed by prior anticoagulant status, while effectiveness of rivaroxaban versus dabigatran differed in GI bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number238
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 6 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by grant R01-HL122200 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and grant 16EIA26410001 from the American Heart Association.


  • Dabigatran
  • Non-valvular atrial fibrillation
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Stroke
  • Warfarin

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