Efficacy and safety of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants post-kidney transplantation
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BACKGROUND: Novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) were developed as alternatives to vitamin K antagonists, primarily warfarin, as they do not require routine monitoring and have limited drug-drug and drug-food interactions. However, the efficacy and safety of these agents in kidney transplantation are not well studied. AIM: To assess the profile and safety of NOACs for patients who had kidney transplantation, and to provide recommendations and guidelines on therapeutic strategies in these patients. METHODS: This was a retrospective study carried out among adult patients who were actively on the following NOACs (apixaban, rivaroxaban or dabigatran) in our renal transplantation program from December 2015 to December 2016. The patients were identified primarily through electronic medical record system (patient data linkage). Data on the clinical and laboratory profile of the patients were retrieved and analyzed with SPSS 22.0. RESULTS: Complete data on 42 renal transplant patients were retrieved: 59.5% males, 90.5% were whites and 66.7% were older than 60 years old. The mean duration since renal transplantation of the patients was 8.8 ± 7.4 years. The most common risk factors for the development of end-stage renal disease in the subjects were hypertension (19.0%), polycystic kidney disease (19.0%), followed by diabetic nephropathy (16.7%) and chronic glomerulonephritis (16.7%). The main indications for NOACs use in the cohort were atrial fibrillation in 25 patients (59.5%) and venous thromboembolism in 10 patients (23.8%). Overall, 29 patients (69%) were treated with apixaban, 10 patients (23.8%) with rivaroxaban and 3 patients (7.14%) with dabigatran. No (0%) thromboembolic events were observed during the one-year period, but 3 (7.1%) bleeding events occurred in the cohort consisting of 1 patient treated with rivaroxaban 15 mg daily and 2 patients who received apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily. There were no significant changes in serum tacrolimus level three days after the initiation of NOACs among patients treated with tacrolimus (pre- and post-NOACs tacrolimus levels were 7.2516 and 7.8867 ng/mL, P = 0.55, respectively). Also, after one-year of treatment with NOACs there were no significant changes in the pre- and post-NOACs serum creatinine level (P = 0.772) and estimated glomerular filtration rates (P = 0.232). CONCLUSION: No thromboembolic events or significant changes in renal profile were observed in our cohort of kidney transplant recipients who were treated with NOACs for at least a year. However, a few bleeding events were observed. This calls for further well-planned randomized controlled trials to assess the efficacy and safety of NOACs among renal transplant recipients.