Utilization of parenteral anticoagulants and warfarin: impact on the risk of venous thromboembolism recurrence in the outpatient setting

Jennifer Cai, Ronald Preblick, Qiaoyi Zhang, Winghan Jacqueline Kwong
American Health & Drug Benefits 2014, 7 (8): 444-51

BACKGROUND: Clinical guidelines recommend parenteral anticoagulation therapy with an early initiation of warfarin therapy for the treatment of patients with acute venous thromboembolism (VTE) and the prevention of recurrence.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the outpatient utilization of parenteral anticoagulant therapy and warfarin among patients with VTE, and to examine the effects of parenteral anticoagulant use and the time to warfarin initiation from VTE diagnosis on the risk for VTE recurrence.

METHODS: The Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Claims Database was used to identify patients aged 18 to 64 years who had an outpatient claim for deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism between January 2010 and December 2011 (ie, index date) and had no VTE diagnosis or treatment during the 12 months before the index date, had no hospital or emergency department VTE claim within 7 days after the index outpatient VTE claim, and had received warfarin <30 days after the index date. A recurrent VTE event was defined as a VTE-related emergency department visit or hospitalization within 8 to 365 days after the index date. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) associated with VTE recurrence risk related to parenteral anticoagulant use and warfarin initiation timing.

RESULTS: A total of 5820 patients were included in the study (mean age, 50.5 years); of these, 45% were female. A total of 75.7% (4403) of the patients receiving warfarin also received a parenteral anticoagulant, and the median time from VTE diagnosis to warfarin initiation was 5 days for parenteral anticoagulant users compared with 11 days for nonusers. Parenteral anticoagulant use was associated with a 49% recurrent VTE risk reduction (HR, 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.43-0.60; P <.001). Each day of delayed warfarin initiation from the diagnosis of acute VTE was associated with a 1% increase in the risk for VTE recurrence (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.01-1.02; P = .003).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, 1 in 4 patients with VTE who had received warfarin in the outpatient setting did not receive parenteral anticoagulation therapy. Among those who received warfarin, its initiation was not always timely, despite its positive effects on reducing VTE recurrence. These findings highlight the potential quality-of-care concerns associated with the failure to use or the delayed implementation of guideline-recommended VTE treatment, and the need to improve compliance with clinical guidelines in the treatment of patients with VTE.

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