The Effect of Dabigatran Plasma Concentrations and Patient Characteristics on the Frequency of Ischemic Stroke and Major Bleeding in Atrial Fibrillation Patients
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OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to analyze the impact of dabigatran plasma concentrations, patient demographics, and aspirin (ASA) use on frequencies of ischemic strokes/systemic emboli and major bleeds in atrial fibrillation patients. BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety of dabigatran etexilate were demonstrated in the RE-LY (Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy) trial, but a therapeutic concentration range has not been defined. METHODS: In a pre-specified analysis of RE-LY, plasma concentrations of dabigatran were determined in patients treated with dabigatran etexilate 110 mg twice daily (bid) or 150 mg bid and correlated with the clinical outcomes of ischemic stroke/systemic embolism and major bleeding using univariate and multivariate logistic regression and Cox regression models. Patient demographics and ASA use were assessed descriptively and as covariates. RESULTS: Plasma concentrations were obtained from 9,183 patients, with 112 ischemic strokes/systemic emboli (1.3%) and 323 major bleeds (3.8%) recorded. Dabigatran levels were dependent on renal function, age, weight, and female sex, but not ethnicity, geographic region, ASA use, or clopidogrel use. A multiple logistic regression model (c-statistic 0.657, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.61 to 0.71) showed that the risk of ischemic events was inversely related to trough dabigatran concentrations (p = 0.045), with age and previous stroke (both p < 0.0001) as significant covariates. Multiple logistic regression (c-statistic 0.715, 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.74) showed major bleeding risk increased with dabigatran exposure (p < 0.0001), age (p < 0.0001), ASA use (p < 0.0003), and diabetes (p = 0.018) as significant covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Ischemic stroke and bleeding outcomes were correlated with dabigatran plasma concentrations. Age was the most important covariate. Individual benefit-risk might be improved by tailoring dabigatran dose after considering selected patient characteristics. (Randomized Evaluation of Long Term Anticoagulant Therapy [RE-LY] With Dabigatran Etexilate; NCT00262600).
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