Risk for Bleeding-Related Hospitalizations During Use of Amiodarone With Apixaban or Rivaroxaban in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation : A Retrospective Cohort Study

Link to article at PubMed

Ann Intern Med. 2023 May 23. doi: 10.7326/M22-3238. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Amiodarone, the most effective antiarrhythmic drug in atrial fibrillation, inhibits apixaban and rivaroxaban elimination, thus possibly increasing anticoagulant-related risk for bleeding.

OBJECTIVE: For patients receiving apixaban or rivaroxaban, to compare risk for bleeding-related hospitalizations during treatment with amiodarone versus flecainide or sotalol, antiarrhythmic drugs that do not inhibit these anticoagulants' elimination.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: U.S. Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older.

PATIENTS: Patients with atrial fibrillation began anticoagulant use between 1 January 2012 and 30 November 2018 and subsequently initiated treatment with study antiarrhythmic drugs.

MEASUREMENTS: Time to event for bleeding-related hospitalizations (primary outcome) and ischemic stroke, systemic embolism, and death with or without recent (past 30 days) evidence of bleeding (secondary outcomes), adjusted with propensity score overlap weighting.

RESULTS: There were 91 590 patients (mean age, 76.3 years; 52.5% female) initiating use of study anticoagulants and antiarrhythmic drugs, 54 977 with amiodarone and 36 613 with flecainide or sotalol. Risk for bleeding-related hospitalizations increased with amiodarone use (rate difference [RD], 17.5 events [95% CI, 12.0 to 23.0 events] per 1000 person-years; hazard ratio [HR], 1.44 [CI, 1.27 to 1.63]). Incidence of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism did not increase (RD, -2.1 events [CI, -4.7 to 0.4 events] per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.80 [CI, 0.62 to 1.03]). The risk for death with recent evidence of bleeding (RD, 9.1 events [CI, 5.8 to 12.3 events] per 1000 person-years; HR, 1.66 [CI, 1.35 to 2.03]) was greater than that for other deaths (RD, 5.6 events [CI, 0.5 to 10.6 events] per 1000 person-years; HR, 1.15 [CI, 1.00 to 1.31]) (HR comparison: P = 0.003). The increased incidence of bleeding-related hospitalizations for rivaroxaban (RD, 28.0 events [CI, 18.4 to 37.6 events] per 1000 person-years) was greater than that for apixaban (RD, 9.1 events [CI, 2.8 to 15.3 events] per 1000 person-years) (P = 0.001).

LIMITATION: Possible residual confounding.

CONCLUSION: In this retrospective cohort study, patients aged 65 years or older with atrial fibrillation treated with amiodarone during apixaban or rivaroxaban use had greater risk for bleeding-related hospitalizations than those treated with flecainide or sotalol.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

PMID:37216662 | DOI:10.7326/M22-3238

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