Amiodarone, anticoagulation, and clinical events in patients with atrial fibrillation: insights from the ARISTOTLE trial

Greg Flaker, Renato D Lopes, Elaine Hylek, Daniel M Wojdyla, Laine Thomas, Sana M Al-Khatib, Renee M Sullivan, Stefan H Hohnloser, David Garcia, Michael Hanna, John Amerena, Veli-Pekka Harjola, Paul Dorian, Alvaro Avezum, Matyas Keltai, Lars Wallentin, Christopher B Granger
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2014 October 14, 64 (15): 1541-50

BACKGROUND: Amiodarone is an effective medication in preventing atrial fibrillation (AF), but it interferes with the metabolism of warfarin.

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to examine the association of major thrombotic clinical events and bleeding with the use of amiodarone in the ARISTOTLE (Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation) trial.

METHODS: Baseline characteristics of patients who received amiodarone at randomization were compared with those who did not receive amiodarone. The interaction between randomized treatment and amiodarone was tested using a Cox model, with main effects for randomized treatment and amiodarone and their interaction. Matching on the basis of a propensity score was used to compare patients who received and who did not receive amiodarone at the time of randomization.

RESULTS: In ARISTOTLE, 2,051 (11.4%) patients received amiodarone at randomization. Patients on warfarin and amiodarone had time in the therapeutic range that was lower than patients not on amiodarone (56.5% vs. 63.0%; p < 0.0001). More amiodarone-treated patients had a stroke or a systemic embolism (1.58%/year vs. 1.19%/year; adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03 to 2.10; p = 0.0322). Overall mortality and major bleeding rates were elevated, but were not significantly different in amiodarone-treated patients and patients not on amiodarone. When comparing apixaban with warfarin, patients who received amiodarone had a stroke or a systemic embolism rate of 1.24%/year versus 1.85%/year (HR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.40 to 1.15), death of 4.15%/year versus 5.65%/year (HR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.55 to 0.98), and major bleeding of 1.86%/year versus 3.06%/year (HR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.39 to 0.96). In patients who did not receive amiodarone, the stroke or systemic embolism rate was 1.29%/year versus 1.57%/year (HR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.00), death was 3.43%/year versus 3.68%/year (HR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.83 to 1.05), and major bleeding was 2.18%/year versus 3.03%/year (HR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.62 to 0.84). The interaction p values for amiodarone use by apixaban treatment effects were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Amiodarone use was associated with significantly increased stroke and systemic embolism risk and a lower time in the therapeutic range when used with warfarin. Apixaban consistently reduced the rate of stroke and systemic embolism, death, and major bleeding compared with warfarin in amiodarone-treated patients and patients who were not on amiodarone.

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