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Real-world assessment of off-label direct oral anticoagulant dosing for venous thromboembolism

Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis
John A. Saunders, Whitney L. Gustafson, Sara R. Vazquez, Aubrey E. Jones, Daniel M. Witt
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Preferred anticoagulation therapy for venous thromboembolism (VTE) has shifted from warfarin to direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). Adherence to DOAC prescribing information is an important quality measure as off-label doses have been associated with increased risk of adverse events (AEs). To identify the prevalence, outcomes, and patient characteristics associated with off-label DOAC dosing during VTE treatment. Patients receiving DOAC for VTE treatment discharged from University of Utah Health (UUH) over a 90-day period were identified. Dosing was classified as “labeled” or “off-label” based on concordance with manufacturer prescribing information. AEs (thromboembolic events, bleeding, death) occurring within 90 days after discharge were identified. Out of 195 patients, 154 (79.0%) received labeled dosing, 31 (15.9%) received off-label dosing, and 10 (5.1%) were indeterminate. Two-thirds of off-label doses were higher than recommended and three-fourths occurred during extended treatment (more than 90 days post-VTE). Off-label dosing rates dropped to 5.6% when 6-month dose reductions were not required. Off-label dosing was associated with apixaban use and extended phase treatment (p < 0.001). No association was found between off-label dosing and age, renal function, prescriber rationale for dose selection, or Thrombosis Clinic referral. AEs were experienced by 18 (11.7%) and 3 (9.7%) patients in the labeled and off-label groups, respectively (p = 0.77). Bleeding events comprised 46.2% of AEs. The rate of off-label DOAC dosing for VTE at UUH was within rates reported in prior studies, occurred primarily with extended-duration apixaban, and did not result in a higher rate of AEs.

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