OBJECTIVE: Dabigatran and rivaroxaban have been approved by the US FDA to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients. Newly published real-world evidence based on the US population found that elderly Medicare patients with NVAF treated with rivaroxaban experienced statistically significant increases in intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) and major extracranial bleeding, and statistically nonsignificant decreases in thromboembolic stroke and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) compared with dabigatran. This study assessed the cost-effectiveness of dabigatran vs. rivaroxaban for the treatment of US Medicare NVAF patients.
METHODS: A previously published Markov model was adapted to compare dabigatran and rivaroxaban. The model considered thromboembolic stroke, bleeding events, and AMI based on the published real-world event risks. Model outputs included clinical event rates, costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).
RESULTS: Dabigatran patients experienced fewer ICH and major extracranial bleeding events than rivaroxaban patients, but more stroke and AMI events. Dabigatran was found to yield lower costs and higher QALYs than rivaroxaban, with incremental costs of −$3534 and incremental QALYs of 0.004. Results remained consistent in sensitivity analyses, with a positive net monetary benefit (willingness-to-pay thresholds of $50,000 and $100,000 per QALY) for dabigatran over rivaroxaban for all model inputs tested.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study using US Medicare real-world data, dabigatran was found to dominate rivaroxaban. The analyses were limited by the short follow-up period of the real-world data and results may not be generalizable to other patient populations.