Treatment visits for use of anticoagulants are on an upward trend and driven largely by the popularity of new direct oral anticoagulants, which tripled in use from 2013–2014, reports a study in The American Journal of Medicine.

Geoffrey Barnes, MD, MSc, from the University of Michigan Health System, and colleagues analyzed the IMS Health National Disease and Therapeutic Index of surveys from approximately 4,800 physician members of the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association. Data on about 350,000 clinical visits each quarter was reviewed for information on office visits related to anticoagulant treatment.

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Visits for warfarin therapy declined between 2009–2014, while visits for direct oral anticoagulants rose more than one million per quarter since their introduction in 2010. Fifty-seven percent of anticoagulation visits were related to warfarin use vs. 43% related to direct oral anticoagulants last year, according to the study. The majority of prescriptions for direct oral anticoagulants were for dabigatran from 2010–2012, but rivaroxaban was the most commonly prescribed oral anticoagulant during atrial fibrillation office visits.

“The data provides a promising outlook about atrial fibrillation which is known for being undertreated,” said Dr. Barnes. “When we don’t treat atrial fibrillation, patients are at risk for stroke. By seeking treatment, patients set themselves up for better outcomes.”

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