Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Mar 19;100(11):e25216. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000025216.
BACKGROUND: Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have been widely used for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) and the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism. There is an issue with safety, especially in clinically relevant bleeding. We performed a network meta-analysis to evaluate the risk of major gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding associated with NOACs.
METHODS: Interventions were warfarin, enoxaparin, apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, and rivaroxaban. The primary outcome was the incidence of major GI bleeding. A subgroup analysis was performed according to the following indications: AF, deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism, and postsurgical prophylaxis.
RESULTS: A total of 29 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 4 large observation population studies were included. Compared with warfarin, apixaban showed a decreased the risk of major GI bleeding (relative risk [RR] 0.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.76), and rivaroxaban tended to increase this risk (RR 1.40, 95% CI 1.06-1.85). Dabigatran (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.98-1.60), edoxaban (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.69-1.65), and enoxaparin (RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.63-2.43) did not significantly increase the risk of GI bleeding than did warfarin. In the subgroup analysis, according to indications, apixaban showed a decreased risk of major GI bleeding (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.34-0.74) than did warfarin in AF studies. Dabigatran (RR 2.36, 95% CI 1.55-3.60, and rivaroxaban (RR 1.75, 95% CI 1.10-6.41) increased the risk of major GI bleeding than did apixaban. An analysis of studies on venous thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism showed that no individual NOAC or enoxaparin was associated with an increased risk of major GI bleeding compared to warfarin.
CONCLUSION: Individual NOACs had varying profiles of GI bleeding risk. Results of analyses including only RCTs and those including both RCTs and population studies showed similar trends, but also showed several differences.