AIMS: To assess clinical outcomes, efficacy, and safety according to sex during anticoagulation with apixaban compared with warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation (ARISTOTLE) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial that included 11 785 (64.7%) men and 6416 (35.3%) women with atrial fibrillation or flutter randomized to receive either warfarin or apixaban. The primary efficacy endpoint was stroke or systemic embolism; secondary efficacy endpoints were death from any cause and cardiovascular death. The primary safety endpoint was major bleeding; secondary safety endpoints were a composite of major bleeding and non-major clinically relevant bleeding. The risk of stroke or systemic embolism was similar in women vs. men [adjusted hazard ratio (adjHR): 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.74–1.12; P = 0.38]. However, among patients with history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack, women had a lower risk of recurrent stroke compared with men (adjHR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.50–0.97; P = 0.036). Women also had a lower risk of all-cause death (adjHR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.55–0.73; P < 0.0001) and cardiovascular death (adjHR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.51–0.75; P < 0.0001), and a trend towards less major bleeding (adjHR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.74–1.01; P = 0.066) and major or non-major clinically relevant bleeding (adjHR: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.80–1.00; P = 0.049). The efficacy and safety benefits of apixaban compared with warfarin were consistent regardless of sex.
CONCLUSIONS: In the ARISTOTLE trial, women had a similar rate of stroke or systemic embolism but a lower risk of mortality and less clinically relevant bleeding than men. The efficacy and safety benefits of apixaban compared with warfarin were consistent in men and women.