Role of rivaroxaban in the management of atrial fibrillation: insights from clinical practice.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia, and it leads to significant morbidity and mortality, predominantly from ischemic stroke. Vitamin K antagonists, mainly warfarin, have been used for decades to prevent ischemic stroke in AF, but their use is limited due to interactions with food and other drugs, as well as the requirement for regular monitoring of the international normalized ratio. Rivaroxaban, a direct factor Xa inhibitor and the most commonly used non-vitamin K oral anticoagulant, avoids many of these challenges and is being prescribed with increasing frequency for stroke prevention in non-valvular AF. Randomized controlled trial (RCT) data from the ROCKET-AF(Rivaroxaban once daily oral direct Factor Xa inhibition compared with vitamin K antagonism for prevention of stroke and embolism trial in atrial fibrillation) trial have shown rivaroxaban to be non-inferior to warfarin in preventing ischemic stroke and systemic embolism and to have comparable overall bleeding rates. Applicability of the RCT data to real-world practice can sometimes be limited by complex clinical scenarios or multiple comorbidities not adequately represented in the trials. Available real-world evidence in non-valvular AF patients with comorbidities - including renal impairment, acute coronary syndrome, diabetes mellitus, malignancy, or old age - supports the use of rivaroxaban as safe and effective in preventing ischemic stroke in these subgroups, though with some important considerations required to reduce bleeding risk. Patient perspectives on rivaroxaban use are also considered. Real-world evidence indicates superior rates of drug adherence with rivaroxaban when compared with vitamin K antagonists and with alternative non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants - perhaps, in part, due to its once-daily dosing regimen. Furthermore, self-reported quality of life scores are highest among patients compliant with rivaroxaban therapy. The generally high levels of patient satisfaction with rivaroxaban therapy contribute to overall favorable clinical outcomes.