Bleeding Complications in Patients Receiving Direct Oral Anticoagulant Therapy in the Post Clinical Trial General Practice

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American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine


Dabigatran, apixaban and rivaroxaban are direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) recently approved for patients with venous thromboembolism. Therapy-induced hemorrhage remains a major complication in these patients. This study retrospectively reviews the hemorrhagic complications associated with DOACs in the general practice and the related clinical implications. The electronic medical charts of 2255 patients with prolonged PTT tests during August 2015 to April 2016 at William Beaumont Health System – Troy were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with prolonged PTT and simultaneously receiving DOAC’s were identified. Hemorrhagic complications associated with DOAC therapy and the related clinical information were analyzed. 517 (22.9%) patients were identified receiving DOAC therapy. Among these, DOAC therapy-associated hemorrhages were recorded in 85 patients (16.4%). Apixaban had a significantly lower incidence of hemorrhage (8.8%) than rivaroxaban (21.0%) and dabigatran (27.9%). The most common hemorrhage was GI bleeding (7.0% overall); its incidence was significantly higher in dabigatran (18.6%) than apixaban (4.1%) and rivaroxaban (7.4%); but no significant difference between apixaban and rivaroxaban (p>0.05). GI bleeding produced anemia in 13 patients who received additional treatments with occasional blood transfusions. Since GI bleeding is the most common bleeding complication and may cause anemia in patients receiving DOAC therapy, routine studies for GI bleeding should be encouraged to reduce the complications of GI bleeding. Apixaban has significantly lower incidence of bleeding complications, it may be a better choice in patients with increased bleeding risk overall. However, apixaban may not improve the bleeding risk in patients with GI bleeding associated with rivaroxaban.





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