An evidence-based review of edoxaban and its role in stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in the elderly. It is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality from cardioembolic complications like stroke. As a result, atrial fibrillation patients are risk-stratified using the CHADS2 or CHA2DS2-VASc scoring systems. Those at intermediate-to-high risk have traditionally been treated with therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin for stroke prevention. Although effective, warfarin use is fraught with multiple concerns, such as a narrow therapeutic window, drug-drug and drug-food interactions, and excessive bleeding. Novel oral anticoagulant agents have recently become available as viable alternatives for warfarin therapy. Direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran and factor Xa inhibitors like rivaroxaban and apixaban have already been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Edoxaban is the latest oral direct factor Xa inhibitor studied in the largest novel oral anticoagulant trial so far: ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48. Treatment with a 30 mg or 60 mg daily dose of edoxaban was found to be noninferior to dose-adjusted warfarin in reducing the rate of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, with a lower incidence of bleeding complications and cardiovascular deaths. Edoxaban was recently reviewed by an FDA advisory committee and recommended as a stroke-prophylaxis agent. Once approved, it promises to provide another useful alternative to warfarin therapy.