Many studies showing underuse of oral anticoagulants (OACs) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) predated the advent of the non-vitamin K antagonist OACs. We retrospectively examined use of OACs in a large commercially insured population.
Administrative claims data from 4 research partners participating in FDA-Catalyst, a program of the Sentinel Initiative, were queried in September 2017. Patients were included if they were ≥30 years old with ≥365 days of medical/pharmacy coverage, and had ≥2 diagnosis codes for AF, a CHADS-VASc score ≥2, absence of contraindications to OAC use, and no evidence of OAC use in the 365 days before the index AF diagnosis. The main outcome measures of the current analysis were rates of OAC use in the prior 12 months of cohort identification and factors associated with non-use.
A total of 197,806 AF patients met the eligibility criteria prior to assessment of OAC treatment. Of these, 179,580 (91%) patients were ≥65 years old and 73,286 (37%) patients were ≥80 years old. Half of the patients (98,903) were randomized to the early intervention arm in the IMPACT-AFib trial and constitute the cohort for this analysis. Of these, 32,295 (33%) had no evidence of OAC use in the prior 12 months. Compared with patients with evidence of OAC use in the prior 12 months, patients without OAC use were more likely to be ≥80 years old, women, and have a history of anemia (51% vs 47%) and less likely to have diabetes (41% vs 44%), history of stroke or TIA (15% vs 19%), and history of heart failure (39% vs 48%).
Despite a high risk of stroke, one-third of privately insured patients with AF and no obvious contraindications to an OAC were not treated with an OAC. There is an unmet need for evidence-based interventions that could lead to greater use of OACs in patients with AF at risk for stroke.