Objectives. Determine the optimal, licensed, first-line anticoagulant for prevention of ischemic stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) in England and Wales from the UK National Health Service (NHS) perspective and estimate value to decision making of further research. Methods. We developed a cost-effectiveness model to compare warfarin (international normalized ratio target range 2-3) with directly acting (or non-vitamin K antagonist) oral anticoagulants (DOACs) apixaban 5 mg, dabigatran 150 mg, edoxaban 60 mg, and rivaroxaban 20 mg, over 30 years post treatment initiation. In addition to death, the 17-state Markov model included the events stroke, bleed, myocardial infarction, and intracranial hemorrhage. Input parameters were informed by systematic literature reviews and network meta-analysis. Expected value of perfect information (EVPI) and expected value of partial perfect information (EVPPI) were estimated to provide an upper bound on value of further research. Results. At willingness-to-pay threshold £20,000, all DOACs have positive expected incremental net benefit compared to warfarin, suggesting they are likely cost-effective. Apixaban has highest expected incremental net benefit (£7533), followed by dabigatran (£6365), rivaroxaban (£5279), and edoxaban (£5212). There was considerable uncertainty as to the optimal DOAC, with the probability apixaban has highest net benefit only 60%. Total estimated population EVPI was £17.94 million (17.85 million, 18.03 million), with relative effect between apixaban versus dabigatran making the largest contribution with EVPPI of £7.95 million (7.66 million, 8.24 million). Conclusions. At willingness-to-pay threshold £20,000, all DOACs have higher expected net benefit than warfarin but there is considerable uncertainty between the DOACs. Apixaban had the highest expected net benefit and greatest probability of having highest net benefit, but there is considerable uncertainty between DOACs. A head-to-head apixaban versus dabigatran trial may be of value.
- directly acting oral anticoagulants
- atrial fibrillation
- value of information
- cost-effectiveness analysis