Off-Label Dosing of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants and Adverse Outcomes: The ORBIT-AF II Registry

Benjamin A. Steinberg, Peter Shrader, Laine Thomas, Jack Ansell, Gregg C. Fonarow, Bernard J. Gersh, Peter R. Kowey, Kenneth W. Mahaffey, Gerald Naccarelli, James Reiffel, Daniel E. Singer, Eric D. Peterson, Jonathan P. Piccini

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384 Scopus citations


Background Although non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) do not require frequent laboratory monitoring, each compound requires dose adjustments on the basis of certain clinical criteria. Objectives This study assessed the frequency of off-label NOAC doses among AF patients and the associations between off-label dose therapy and clinical outcomes in community practice. Methods We evaluated 5,738 patients treated with a NOAC at 242 ORBIT-AF II (Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation phase II) sites. NOAC doses were classified as either underdosed or overdosed, consistent with Food and Drug Administration labeling. Longitudinal outcomes (median follow-up: 0.99 years) included stroke or systemic embolism, myocardial infarction, major bleeding (International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis criteria), cause-specific hospitalization, and all-cause mortality. Results Overall, 541 NOAC-treated patients (9.4%) were underdosed, 197 were overdosed (3.4%), and 5,000 were dosed according to U.S. labeling (87%). Compared with patients receiving the recommended dose, those who were receiving off-label doses were older (median: 79 and 80 years of age vs. 70 years of age, respectively; p < 0.0001), more likely female (48% and 67% vs. 40%, respectively; p < 0.0001), less likely to be treated by an electrophysiologist (18% and 19% vs. 27%, respectively; p < 0.0001), and had higher CHA2DS2-VASc scores (96% and 97% ≥2 vs. 86%, respectively; p < 0.0001) and higher ORBIT bleeding scores (25% and 31% >4 vs. 11%, respectively; p < 0.0001). After dose adjustment, NOAC overdosing was associated with increased all-cause mortality compared with recommended doses (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02 to 3.60; p = 0.04). Underdosing was associated with increased cardiovascular hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.07 to 1.50; p = 0.007). Conclusions A significant minority (almost 1 in 8) of U.S. patients in the community received NOAC doses inconsistent with labeling. NOAC over- and underdosing are associated with increased risk for adverse events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2597-2604
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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