Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2021; 25 (13): 4499-4505

DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202107_26241

Selecting the right anticoagulant for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation

N.R. Kundnani, C.I. Rosca, A. Sharma, A. Tudor, M.S. Rosca, D.D. Nisulescu, H.S. Branea, V. Mocanu, D.C. Crisan, D.R. Buzas, S. Morariu, D.F. Lighezan

Department of Functional Sciences, Physiology, Centre of Immuno-Physiology and Biotechnologies (CIFBIOTEH), “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, Romania. Knilima@umft.ro


OBJECTIVE: The embolization of thrombi formed within the atria can occur in any form of atrial fibrillation (AF), i.e., paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent. Although ischemic stroke is the most frequent embolic event associated with AF, embolization to other sites in the pulmonary and systemic circulations may occasionally occur. To avert the risk of embolization, long-term oral anticoagulation therapy is recommended for all AF patients if the CHA2DS2-VASC score is at least 1 for men and at least 2 for women. Since anticoagulant therapy is associated with an increased risk of bleeding, the choice of oral anticoagulant agent should be made by careful consideration of the benefit-to-risk ratio. The use of a newer class of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) as an alternative to the anti-vitamin K (AVK) anticoagulants (warfarin, acenocumarol, etc.) can help mitigate the need for periodic monitoring of International Normalized Ratio (INR) and adverse bleeding events that are commonly associated with the use of AVK anticoagulants. Though the use of DOACs (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, edoxaban, apixaban, etc.) is gaining ground due to their relative safety profile and the low overall cost, quite a few clinicians remain skeptical about their use.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Our objective was to evaluate the risk of thromboembolism, stroke, neuropsychiatric illness, depression, and dementia, in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who have been treated with either acenocumarol or apixaban, as well as to see the inflammatory status (ESR) and levels of fibrinogen. Our team at Municipal Emergency University Hospital, Timisoara, Romania, conducted a retrospective study using the medical records of AF patients who were treated with either apixaban or acenocumarol between 2016-2019. We divided the patients into two groups and compared the groups for the aforementioned outcomes.

RESULTS: AF patients who were prescribed apixaban had a lower rate of stroke and psychiatric illness compared to those on acenocumarol. No significant correlation was found in terms of risk of developing depression or dementia between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Non-valvular AF patients on apixaban had lower rates of thromboembolic events than the patients on acenocumarol. This article will serve as a reminder of the positive health and financial outcomes of apixaban use, especially to those healthcare systems that are still oblivious to the decrease in economic burden and gain in quality-adjusted life years (QALY) by the long-term use of NOACS/ DOACS instead of the AVK anticoagulants.

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N.R. Kundnani, C.I. Rosca, A. Sharma, A. Tudor, M.S. Rosca, D.D. Nisulescu, H.S. Branea, V. Mocanu, D.C. Crisan, D.R. Buzas, S. Morariu, D.F. Lighezan
Selecting the right anticoagulant for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2021
Vol. 25 - N. 13
Pages: 4499-4505
DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202107_26241