Risk of Major Gastrointestinal Bleeding With New vs Conventional Oral Anticoagulants: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Zhi-Chun Gu, An-Hua Wei, Chi Zhang, Xin-Hua Wang, Le Zhang, Long Shen, Zheng Li, Mang-Mang Pan, Xiao-Yan Liu, Jun Pu, Hou-Wen Lin
Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2020, 18 (4): 792-799.e61

BACKGROUND & AIMS: There is controversy over whether use of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) associates with increased risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) compared with conventional therapies (such as vitamin K antagonists or anti-platelet agents). We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from randomized controlled trials and high-quality real-world studies.

METHODS: We performed a systematic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Website databases (through Oct 12, 2018) for randomized controlled trials and high-quality real-world studies that reported major GIB events in patients given NOACs or conventional therapy. Relative risks (RRs) for randomized controlled trials and adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for real-world studies were calculated separately using random-effects models.

RESULTS: We analyzed data from 43 randomized controlled trials (183,752 patients) and 41 real-world studies (1,879,428 patients). The pooled major rates of GIB for patients on NOACs (1.19%) vs conventional treatment (0.92%) did not differ significantly (RR from randomized controlled trials, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.91-1.31 and aHR from real-world studies, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.94-1.10; Pinteraction =.52). Rivaroxaban, but not other NOACs, was associated with an increased risk for major GIB (RR from randomized controlled trials, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.17-1.65 and aHR from real-world studies, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.04-1.23; Pinteraction = .06). Analyses of subgroups, such as patients with different indications, dosage, or follow-up time, did not significantly affect results. Meta-regression analysis failed to detect any potential confounding to impact the primacy outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: In a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from randomized controlled trials and real-world studies, we confirmed that there is no significant difference in risk of major GIB between patients receiving NOACs vs conventional treatment. Rivaroxaban users had a 39% increase in risk for major GIB.

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