Short-term anticoagulant treatment for acute DVT or pulmonary embolism (PE) effectively reduces the risk of recurrent disease during the first 6 to 12 months of therapy. Continued anticoagulation often is not instituted because of the perception among physicians that the risk of major bleeding will outweigh the risk of new venous thrombotic episodes.
The authors performed a benefit-risk analysis by using the randomized EINSTEIN-Extension trial, which compared continued rivaroxaban with placebo in 1,197 patients with symptomatic DVT or PE who had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation and in whom physicians had equipoise with respect to the need for continued anticoagulation. One-year Kaplan-Meier rates and rate differences of recurrent VTE and major bleeding were calculated. Benefits and risks were assessed using rate differences scaled to a population size of 10,000 patients treated for 1 year.
Recurrent VTE occurred in eight recipients of rivaroxaban and 42 patients receiving placebo. In a population of 10,000 patients treated for 1 year, rivaroxaban treatment would have resulted in 665 (95% CI, 246-1,084) fewer recurrent VTEs than would placebo (number needed to treat = 15). Major bleeding occurred in four (0.7%) and zero patients, respectively. Rivaroxaban treatment would have resulted in 68 (95% CI, 2-134) more major bleeding events than would placebo (number needed to harm = 147). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed early recurrent VTE reduction with rivaroxaban that continued to improve throughout treatment; major bleeding increased gradually, plateauing at approximately 100 days.
A clinically important benefit and a favorable benefit-risk profile of continued rivaroxaban anticoagulation was observed.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00439725; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov