Objective To describe the changes in prescribing of oral anticoagulant (AC) and antiplatelet (AP) agents in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) in the UK and to identify the characteristics associated with deviation from guideline-based recommendations.
Design Five cross-sectional analyses in a large retrospective population-based cohort study.
Setting General practices contributing data to the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
Participants The study included patients with a diagnosis of NVAF and eligible for anticoagulation (CHA2DS2-VASc score ≥2) on 1 April of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 1st January 2016.
Results The proportion of patients being treated with AC increased at each index date, showing an absolute rise of 16.7% over the study period. At the same time, the proportion of patients treated with an AP alone was reduced by half, showing an absolute decrease of 16.8%. The proportion of patients not receiving any antithrombotic (AT) treatment remained the same across the study period. A number of predictors were identified for AP alone or no treatment compared with AC treatment.
Conclusion Major improvements in the AT management of patients with NVAF for stroke prevention in the UK were observed between April 2012 and January 2016. Despite this, nearly 20% of at-risk patients still received AP alone and over 15% were on no AT agents in January 2016.
- atrial fibrillation
- drug therapy
- electronic health records
- great britain
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Contributors LL conceived and designed the study, contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the data and wrote the first draft of the paper as well as contributing to the final paper. CL conceived and designed the study, contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the data and contributed to the final paper. DE and JPH conceived and designed the study, contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the data and contributed to the final paper. LM undertook the data analysis, contributed to the interpretation of the data, wrote the first draft and contributed to the final paper. MP and SR undertook the data analysis and contributed to the interpretation of the data as well as contributing to the final paper. ML and ER contributed to the interpretation of the data and contributed to the final paper. All authors approved the final paper and have accepted accountability for all aspects of the work.
Funding This manuscript was fully funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Competing interests MP, LM and SR were employees of Evidera and who were paid consultants to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in connection with conducting this study and with the development of this manuscript. JPH received consultancy fees from BMS for the conduct of this study. DE, ER, CL and LL were BMS employees at the time of the research. ML is a full-time employee of Pfizer.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data are available.
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