Andexanet is Probably not the Best Option When Trying to Stop DOAC-Induced Severe Bleeding

BACKGROUND: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have shown a positive benefit-risk balance in both clinical trials and real-world data, but approximately 2% to 3.5% of patients experience major bleeding annually. Many of these patients require hospitalization, and the administration of reversal agents may be required to control bleeding.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate clinical outcomes associated with the use of 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrates, idarucizumab, or andexanet for reversal of severe DOAC-associated bleeding.

METHODS: The investigators systematically searched for studies of reversal agents for the treatment of severe bleeding associated with DOAC. Mortality rates, thromboembolic events, and hemostatic efficacy were meta-analyzed using a random effects model.

RESULTS: The investigators evaluated 60 studies in 4,735 patients with severe DOAC-related bleeding who were treated with 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrates (n = 2,688), idarucizumab (n = 1,111), or andexanet (n = 936). The mortality rate was 17.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 15.1% to 20.4%), and it was higher in patients with intracranial bleedings (20.2%) than in patients with extracranial hemorrhages (15.4%). The thromboembolism rate was 4.6% (95% CI: 3.3% to 6.0%), being particularly high with andexanet (10.7%; 95% CI: 6.5% to 15.7%). The effective hemostasis rate was 78.5% (95% CI: 75.1% to 81.8%) and was similar regardless of the reversal agent considered. The rebleeding rate was 13.2% (95% CI: 5.5% to 23.1%) and 78% of rebleeds occurred after resumption of anticoagulation. The risk of death was markedly and significantly associated with failure to achieve effective hemostasis (relative risk: 3.63; 95% CI: 2.56 to 5.16). The results were robust regardless of the type of study or the hemostatic scale used.

CONCLUSIONS: The risk of death after severe DOAC-related bleeding remains significant despite a high rate of effective hemostasis with reversal agents. Failure to achieve effective hemostasis strongly correlated with a fatal outcome. Thromboembolism rates are particularly high with andexanet. Comparative clinical trials are needed.

Gómez-Outes A, et al. Meta-Analysis of Reversal Agents for Severe Bleeding Associated With Direct Oral Anticoagulants. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Jun, 77 (24) 2987–3001