INTRODUCTION: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and real-world data (RWD) in patients with atrial fibrillation have shown that-compared to vitamin K antagonists (VKAs)-non-VKA oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are at least as effective in the prevention of ischaemic stroke, while decreasing the risk of bleeding.
OBJECTIVE: We aim to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the NOAC apixaban versus other NOACs (dabigatran, edoxaban and rivaroxaban) and VKA, for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation by including the available data both from RCT and real-world analyses of all NOACs into one integrative previously published model.
METHODS: The model was updated to the current Dutch healthcare situation. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated using either efficacy/effectiveness and safety data derived from a network meta-analysis (NMA) synthesizing NOAC RCTs or RWD. We conducted a systematic literature search to identify eligible publication to best inform the RWD-based analysis. Additional sensitivity and scenario analyses were conducted to test the robustness of the outcomes.
RESULTS: In the NMA-based analysis, apixaban appeared to be cost-effective compared to VKA (€3,506 per quality adjusted life-year) and dominant (cost-saving and more effective) over dabigatran 110 mg, dabigatran 150 mg, edoxaban and rivaroxaban. In the RWD-based analysis, apixaban was dominant over all other anticoagulants. In the scenario analysis apixaban appeared to be not cost-effective compared to dabigatran 150 mg, when using equal event-unrelated treatment discontinuation rates for each drug. In all other scenarios apixaban is cost-effective or cost-saving compared to VKA and other NOACs.
CONCLUSION: Based on RCTs as well as RWD, we conclude that apixaban is generally cost-effective or even cost-saving (less costly and more effective) compared to VKA and other NOACs in the overall population of patients with atrial fibrillation.