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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Thrombosis Journal 1/2018

NOACs replace VKA as preferred oral anticoagulant among new patients: a drug utilization study in 560 pharmacies in The Netherlands

Thrombosis Journal > Ausgabe 1/2018
J. M. van den Heuvel, A. M. Hövels, H. R. Büller, A. K. Mantel-Teeuwisse, A. de Boer, A. H. Maitland-van der Zee



In 2012, around 400.000 patients in the Netherlands were treated with Vitamin K Antagonists (VKA) for thromboembolic diseases. Since 2011, non-VKA oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are available. NOACs do not require frequent INR monitoring which benefits patients, but also imposes a risk of reduced therapy adherence. The objective of this study is to describe uptake and patient adherence of NOACs in The Netherlands until October 2016.


Prescription data for 247.927 patients across 560 pharmacies were used to describe patient profiles, uptake of NOACs among new naive patients and switch between VKA and NOACs, and calculate therapy adherence as the Proportion of Days Covered (PDC).


During the studied period the share of NOACs in oral anticoagulants has grown to 57% of prescriptions to new patients. More than 70% of new NOAC users were new naive patients and around 26% switched from VKA. The overall share of NOACs among starters is largest in the group of patients of 50-80 years. Calculated compliance rate for NOAC patients shows that 88% of all users are adherent with a PDC higher than 80%.


NOAC have overtaken VKA as the major treatment prescribed to new oral anticoagulant patients, and the number of starters on VKA is decreasing. Patients are generally adherent to NOACs during the implementation phase, the period that the medication is used. Fear for inadherence by itself does not need to be a reason for not prescribing NOACs instead of VKA.
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