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BMJ Open. 2012; 2(5): e001592.
Published online 2012 October 6. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001592
PMCID: PMC3488718

Coronary and mortality risk of novel oral antithrombotic agents: a meta-analysis of large randomised trials



Oral direct thrombin and anti-Xa inhibitors have been shown to be efficacious in the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism, and prevention of embolic events in atrial fibrillation. Recent studies showed that dabigatran may be associated with increased rates of myocardial infarction (MI). Coronary risk for the other agents was unclear. The aim of the study is to determine the coronary risk among four novel antithrombotic agents.


Mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis.

Data sources and study selection

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on ximelagatran, dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban were obtained from PubMed search (February 2012) and major scientific meeting in 2011. The random-effects model was used to evaluate the effect of these agents on MI or acute coronary syndrome (MI/ACS), major bleeding complication and all-cause mortality.


From 28 RCTs (n=138 948), the risk for MI/ACS was higher for dabigatran (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.63; p=0.021) but lower for rivaroxaban (OR 0.78; 95% CI 0.69 to 0.89; p<0.001). Ximelagatran showed a higher risk for MI/ACS, which was not statistically significant, while apixaban demonstrated a non-significant lower likelihood. Among the RCTs for MI/ACS among the four agents, only those pertaining to ximelagatran showed heterogeneity. Major bleeding complication rates varied considerably among different agents. Importantly, these agents were associated with a lower all-cause mortality, without heterogeneity among the studies.


The risk for coronary events was significantly higher for dabigatran but not significantly higher for ximelagatran. Conversely, this risk was lower among anti-Xa inhibitors. All-cause mortality was lower among those receiving novel antithrombotic agents. This information may be useful in selecting agents for specific subsets of patients requiring anticoagulation.

Keywords: Vascular Medicine

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