Patients’ preferences for new versus old anticoagulants: a mixed-method vignette-based study

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Journal Article
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2018, 17 (5), pp. 429 - 438
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© 2017, © The European Society of Cardiology 2017. Background: For both patients and clinicians, differences between older and new anticoagulants have major implications for treatment selection, day-to-day management of therapy and adherence. Aims: To explore patients’ preferences for warfarin versus direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) therapy. Methods: Mixed-method study involving anticoagulated older patients admitted to hospital. Part A comprised a vignette-based questionnaire; patients were asked whether they preferred Medicine A (warfarin) or Medicine B (DOAC). Part B interviews explored patients’ satisfaction with their current anticoagulant. Responses were thematically analysed. Results: Forty patients participated: 23 warfarin-treated, 17 DOAC-treated. Collectively, Parts A and B identified that most patients were satisfied with their current therapy (warfarin or DOAC), expressing reluctance to change to alternatives. Among patients who were able to numerically rate their satisfaction with therapy, most were ‘satisfied’ with their current anticoagulant, although warfarin-treated patients were slightly less ‘satisfied’ (median score 3.5) than those on DOACs (median score 5.0). Despite this, warfarin-treated patients still preferred their current therapy (over DOACs) due to familiarity and the security of regular international normalised ratio (INR) monitoring; those who preferred DOACs cited previous warfarin-related bleeding and unstable INRs as key reasons. DOAC-treated patients who preferred warfarin perceived regular monitoring as a major advantage; only those having had negative experiences with warfarin clearly preferred DOACs. Conclusion: Most patients accepted their currently prescribed anticoagulant, be it warfarin or DOACs. Features of specific anticoagulants, such as regular monitoring with warfarin, were perceived variably – some patients cited them as advantages and others as disadvantages. The clearest preference identified was for the agent already being taken.
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