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Circulation. 2011 Jun 7;123(22):2562-70. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.985655. Epub 2011 May 23.

Cost-effectiveness of dabigatran for stroke prophylaxis in atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8005, 660 S. Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.



Recent studies have investigated alternatives to warfarin for stroke prophylaxis in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), but whether these alternatives are cost-effective is unknown.


On the basis of the results from Randomized Evaluation of Long Term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) and other trials, we developed a decision-analysis model to compare the cost and quality-adjusted survival of various antithrombotic therapies. We ran our Markov model in a hypothetical cohort of 70-year-old patients with AF using a cost-effectiveness threshold of $50 000/quality-adjusted life-year. We estimated the cost of dabigatran as US $9 a day. For a patient with an average risk of major hemorrhage (≈3%/y), the most cost-effective therapy depended on stroke risk. For patients with the lowest stroke rate (CHADS2 stroke score of 0), only aspirin was cost-effective. For patients with a moderate stroke rate (CHADS2 score of 1 or 2), warfarin was cost-effective unless the risk of hemorrhage was high or quality of international normalized ratio control was poor (time in the therapeutic range <57.1%). For patients with a high stroke risk (CHADS(2) stroke score ≥3), dabigatran 150 mg (twice daily) was cost-effective unless international normalized ratio control was excellent (time in the therapeutic range >72.6%). Neither dabigatran 110 mg nor dual therapy (aspirin and clopidogrel) was cost-effective.


Dabigatran 150 mg (twice daily) was cost-effective in AF populations at high risk of hemorrhage or high risk of stroke unless international normalized ratio control with warfarin was excellent. Warfarin was cost-effective in moderate-risk AF populations unless international normalized ratio control was poor.

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