Therapy with direct oral anticoagulants for secondary prevention of thromboembolic events in the antiphospholipid syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials

Josefine B H Adelhelm, Robin Christensen, Gustavo G M Balbi, Anne Voss

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterised by venous thrombosis (VT) or arterial thrombosis (AT) and/or pregnancy morbidity and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) hold several advantages to vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for prevention of thrombosis and we wish to evaluate DOACs compared with VKAs in secondary prevention of thromboembolic events in patients with APS.

METHODS: We conducted searches of the published literature using relevant data sources (MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane CENTRAL), and of trial registers for unpublished data and ongoing trials. We included randomised trials examining individuals >18 years with APS classified according to the criteria valid when the trial was carried out. Randomised controlled trials had to examine any DOAC agent compared with any comparable drug. We tabulated all occurrences of events from all eligible randomised trials. Due to few events, ORs and 95% CIs were calculated using the Peto method.

RESULTS: 5 randomised trials comprising 624 patients met the predefined eligibility criteria. The primary outcome measure was new thrombotic events, a composite endpoint of any VT or AT, during the VKA-controlled phase of treatment. According to the I2 inconsistency index, there was evidence of statistical heterogeneity across the studies (I2=60%). Across trials, 29 and 10 thrombotic events were observed in 305 and 319 patients with APS treated with DOAC and VKA, respectively, corresponding to a combined Peto OR of 3.01 (95% CI 1.56 to 5.78, p=0.001). There was a significantly increased risk of AT while treated with DOACs compared with VKA (OR 5.5 (2.5, 12.1) p<0.0001), but no difference in the risk of VT (p=0.87). We found no significant difference in risk of bleeding.

CONCLUSIONS: DOACs were associated with a significant increase in the risk of a new thrombotic event, especially AT, favouring standard prophylaxis with warfarin.

PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019126720.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001018
JournalLupus science & medicine
Volume10
Issue number2
ISSN2053-8790
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Antibodies, Anticardiolipin
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Therapeutics

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