Uptake of direct oral anticoagulants in primary care: an ecological and economic study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Clinical trials indicate that direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are as effective as warfarin at preventing ischaemic stroke. It is unclear, however, whether relative changes in DOAC uptake have affected clinical and economic outcomes in practice.

AIM: To investigate variations in DOAC uptake and the relationship with hospital admissions and cost.

DESIGN & SETTING: An ecological study using electronic administrative records from England, April 2012 to March 2017.

METHOD: Multivariable regression was used to model practice variation in DOAC prescribing, and the relationship with clinical and economic outcomes.

RESULTS: In quarter 1 of 2017, 55.0% of the 2 695 262 patients dispensed an anticoagulant were given a DOAC. There was a two-fold difference in odds of dispensing DOACs between clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) between those with the highest and lowest usage of these drugs. Increases in the relative uptake of DOACs were not associated with hospital admissions for ischaemic stroke (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.00; 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 0.999 to 1.001), nor gastrointestinal or intracranial bleeds (IRR = 1.001; 95% CI = 1.000 to 1.002). In 2017, quarter 1, CCGs spent £9247 (inter-quartile range £7751 to £10 853) per 1000 patients on anticoagulants. The marginal effect of a 5% increase in DOAC uptake was associated with a £17.95 (£8.75 to £27.15) increase in total costs, per 1000 patient population.

CONCLUSION: There were significant differences in the relative uptake of DOACs across practices, with greater costs but no reduction in hospital admissions in those with higher levels of dispensing. Findings indicate that clinical and economic benefits of DOACs identified by clinical trials are not realised in practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice Open
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020, The Authors.

Structured keywords

  • HEHP@Bristol


Dive into the research topics of 'Uptake of direct oral anticoagulants in primary care: an ecological and economic study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this