Drug Use Evaluation of Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs) in Patients With Advanced Cirrhosis

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Cureus. 2022 Apr 11;14(4):e24029. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24029. eCollection 2022 Apr.


OBJECTIVES: Low molecular weight heparin and vitamin K antagonists are commonly used in cirrhotic patients requiring anticoagulation. However, their monitoring with anti-factor Xa and international normalized ratio (INR) may not be reliable in cirrhosis. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) do not need laboratory monitoring, making these agents a favorable alternative. However, apixaban and rivaroxaban have been avoided in advanced liver disease due to their metabolism in the liver. The purpose of this medication use evaluation was to assess the use of DOACs, specifically apixaban and rivaroxaban, in patients with cirrhosis.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective, single-center study. Inpatients who had a diagnosis of cirrhosis and received at least one dose of a DOAC (apixaban or rivaroxaban) from April 2016 through June 2020 at our hospital were included in the analysis. Data collected included the reason for admission, Child-Pugh classification, renal function, if this was a home medication or newly started as an inpatient medication, indication, and dosing. The clinical efficacy outcome (new venous thromboembolic event (VTE) or progression of old VTE), and clinical safety outcome (bleeding event) were analyzed.

RESULTS: 41 patients with cirrhosis were treated with apixaban or rivaroxaban. Based on the Child-Pugh classification, 29.3% (n=12/41) were placed on a DOAC outside of the FDA prescribing recommendations. In this subpopulation, 8.3% (n=1/12) patients had venous thromboembolism (VTE) and 16.6% (n=2/12) had bleeding events. Overall, 7.3% patients (n=3/41) had VTE and 4.8% (n=2/41) had bleeding events. In the Apixaban for the Initial Management of Pulmonary Embolism and Deep-Vein Thrombosis as First-Line Therapy (AMPLIFY) trial comparing the efficacy and safety profile of apixaban with enoxaparin/warfarin therapy in acute VTE, 2.3% of patients had VTE and 15% had bleeding events.

CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated that it may be possible to safely use DOACs in patients with advanced cirrhosis. Further studies are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of DOACs in this patient population, as our study was limited by the small sample size and its retrospective design.

PMID:35547458 | PMC:PMC9090206 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.24029

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