Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Pharmacother. 2020 Jul 28:pvaa094. doi: 10.1093/ehjcvp/pvaa094. Online ahead of print.
AIMS: To determine the risk of fracture associated with direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) compared with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), accounting for cumulative duration of use.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using Quebec administrative healthcare databases, we formed a cohort of all patients aged 40 years or older newly diagnosed with NVAF, who filled a first prescription for DOACs or VKAs between 2011 and 2014. Exposure was modelled as a time-varying variable whereby patients were considered unexposed up to 180 days of cumulative duration of use (to account for a biologically meaningful exposure) and exposed thereafter. The final cohort included 10,306 new users of DOACs and 15,357 new users of VKAs. After propensity score-based fine stratification and weighting, use of DOACs for 180 days or greater was associated with a 35% decreased risk of fracture (crude incidence rates 7.5 vs 15.3 per 1000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.65, 95%CI 0.46 - 0.91) compared to VKA duration ≥ 180 days. DOACs use was also associated with a lower risk of hip fracture (HR 0.51, 95%CI 0.31 - 0.86) compared with VKAs. There was no difference in the rate of fracture for shorter duration of use (HR 1.10; 95%CI 0.79 - 1.53). The risk was not modified by age, sex, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, history of fracture or falls.
CONCLUSION: Prolonged use of DOACs is associated with a lower risk of fracture compared with VKAs. These findings support the first-line recommendation for DOACs in patients with NVAF.