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Safety of direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC) prescribing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Safety of direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC) prescribing: OpenSAFELY-TPP analysis of 20.5 million adults’ electronic health records

How to cite: Safety of direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC) prescribing: OpenSAFELY-TPP analysis of 20.5 million adults’ electronic health records. Karen Homan, Rachel Seeley, Louis Fisher, Carol A Roberts, Sajida Khatri, Katie Smith, Tony Jamieson, Victoria Speed, Sebastian Bacon, Amir Mehrkar, Brian MacKenna, Ben Goldacre BJGP Open 1 February 2024; BJGPO.2023.0163. DOI: 10.3399/BJGPO.2023.0163

Background

During the COVID-19 pandemic many patients were switched from warfarin to DOACs which require the creatinine clearance calculated to ensure the correct dose is prescribed to avoid bleeding or reduced efficacy.

Aim

To identify the study population proportion prescribed a DOAC. Of these, the proportion with recorded: weight, estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR), creatinine, creatinine clearance (CrCl) and atrial fibrillation (AF). To analyse the proportion of patients with recorded AF and CrCl prescribed a recommended DOAC dose.

Design & setting

A retrospective cohort study of 20.5 million adult NHS patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) in England in the OpenSAFELY-TPP platform (January 2018 to February 2023).

Method

Patients on DOACs were analysed for age, sex, recorded weight, eGFR, creatinine, CrCl and AF. Prescribed DOAC doses in patients with recorded AF were compared to recommended doses for recorded CrCl and determined as either recommended, underdose or overdose.

Results

In February 2023, weight, eGFR, creatinine, CrCl, AF and, AF and CrCl were recorded in 72.8%; 92.4%; 94.3%; 73.5%; 73.9% of study population respectively. Both AF and CrCl were recorded for 56.7% of patients. Of these, 86.2% received the recommended and 13.8% non-recommended DOAC doses.

Conclusions

CrCl is not recorded for a substantial number of patients on DOACs. We recommend that national organisations tasked with safety, collectively update guidance on the appropriate weight to use in the Cockcroft-Gault equation, clarify that CrCl is not equivalent to eGFR and work with GP clinical system suppliers to standardise the calculation of CrCl in the EHR.