Ischemic Stroke and Systemic Embolism among One-and-Done Direct Oral Anticoagulant Users with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

Advances in Therapy, 2023


Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are essential in ischemic stroke/systemic embolism (SE) prevention among patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). This study compared the risk of ischemic stroke/SE among patients with NVAF who discontinued DOACs following the first fill ("one-and-done") relative to patients who continued DOACs beyond the first fill ("continuers").


De-identified data from Symphony Health, an ICON plc Company, PatientSource®, April 1, 2017 to October 31, 2020, were used to identify adults with NVAF initiated on DOACs (index date). Patients with only one DOAC claim during the 90-day landmark period starting on the index date were classified as one-and-done and the remaining as continuers. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to balance baseline characteristics in the cohorts. Time from the landmark period end to the first ischemic stroke/SE event or, among those without the event, to clinical activity or data end was compared between balanced cohorts using survival analysis.


Of patients initiating DOACs, 23.6% were classified as one-and-done users. After weighting was performed, 241,159 and 238,889 patients comprised the one-and-done and continuer cohorts, respectively. At 12 months of follow-up, the probability of ischemic stroke/SE was 1.44% in the one-and-done cohort and 1.00% in the continuer cohort [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) 1.44 (1.34-1.54); p < 0.0001]. Results at earlier and later time points and in a sensitivity analysis with a 75-day landmark period were similar.


A substantial proportion of patients were one-and-done DOAC users, which was associated with significantly higher risk of ischemic stroke/SE events. There is an unmet need to improve access and encourage continuous use of DOACs among patients with NVAF so that severe and fatal complications may be mitigated.

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Alberts M, Zhdanava M, Pilon D, Caron-Lapointe G, Lefebvre P, Bookhart B, Kharat A