Background: Contemporary guidelines for managing nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) include apixaban and rivaroxaban as first-line anticoagulation treatment options. Minimal guidance is available regarding selecting anticoagulants for patients with class I-III obesity. Objective: This study aims to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and safety of apixaban and rivaroxaban in both obese and morbidly obese patients with NVAF. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at an outpatient cardiovascular clinic after Institutional Review Board approval. Patients were eligible if they were ≥18 years of age, had a BMI ≥30 kg/m2, and took apixaban or rivaroxaban for NVAF for ≥3 months. The primary endpoint was the composite rate of stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), myocardial infarction (MI), or presence of atrial thrombosis. Bleeding events were evaluated as the primary safety endpoint. Results: Combined, the cohorts consisted of 303 obese or morbidly obese patients. The primary composite endpoint occurred in 3.8% of patients taking apixaban and 1.7% of patients taking rivaroxaban (P = .28). Both clinically relevant, non-major and major bleeding occurred more often in the apixaban arm, but this difference was not statistically significant; however, bleeding risk may have been skewed due to differences in baseline characteristics. Conclusion and Relevance: For obese and morbidly obese patients prescribed either apixaban or rivaroxaban for NVAF, rates of stroke, TIA, MI, and atrial thrombosis did not differ. The preferred DOAC for patients with class I-III obesity remains elusive, but current data points to a patient-centered approach for anticoagulant selection.
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Date of publication
Burnham, Kevin T.; Yang, Tianrui; and Wooster, Jessica, "A Real-World Comparison of Apixaban and Rivaroxaban in Obese and Morbidly Obese Patients With Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation" (2023). Pharmacy Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 14.